R. I. President & TRF Chair's Monthly Messages

Rotary International President Sakuji Tanaka's March 2013 Message

RI President's Message - March 2013

Dear fellow Rotarians,

When I was a young man, I wanted to travel the world. But in those years, I could only dream about travel. The world outside Japan seemed far away. But like all Japanese students, I studied English in school. I still remember my first English book. The first page said, "This is a pen." That was almost 50 years ago, and the world has changed a lot since then. As president of Rotary, I now travel more than I ever dreamed.

In every new place, I find a new language. I find new people and new customs. I do my best to learn from everyone. I believe that every person I meet has something to teach. Perhaps because of this, I feel that I understand Rotary Youth Exchange better. And I understand even better what a great gift Rotary is giving through Youth Exchange. Youth Exchange opens minds. It builds confidence and communication. It brings together people from different countries and backgrounds.

Every young person who goes on a Rotary Youth Exchange will learn a great deal. Youth Exchange students learn how people who seem so different are really the same. They begin to appreciate what unites people everywhere. They have a broader understanding of the world. They come back as different people.

They no longer know only one language, only one culture. They have connections with their host country, and with their fellow participants from other countries. At the end of their exchange, they are part of their host families. They are also part of the Rotary family – the largest and most international family in the world.

Rotary's Youth Exchange program has continued for more than 40 successful years and is now part of the fifth Avenue of Service: New Generations Service. This avenue also includes service through Interact, Rotaract, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, and many club and district activities that involve people up to age 30.

When we focus on young people, we are focusing on building the future of Rotary and a more peaceful world. When we serve youth, we help to bring Rotary to a new generation. We spread understanding among nations and cultures. We teach the importance of service to others, and pass on our core values. By doing this, we help to build peace.

Youth Exchange plays an essential part in Rotary's global mission of building peace by helping to build, one exchange at a time, good relationships between nations.

Sakuji Tanaka
President, Rotary International
"Peace Through Service"

 


TRF Chairman PRIP Wilf Wilkinson's March 2013 Message

Trustee chair's message - March 2013

March is a turning point

The month of March provides each of us with an opportunity to reflect on Rotary's accomplishments. It is during this month that we pause to recognize World Rotaract Week, International Women's Day, World Water Day, and Literacy Month – all significant reminders of the good that Rotarians have done worldwide.

As I've traveled around the world, I've been inspired by Rotaractors and their important contributions to the Rotary family. I've had the chance to work with the outstanding women who serve on our Board of Directors. I've witnessed the incredible progress The Rotary Foundation has made on water and sanitation – an area of focus that is crucial to our growing population.

And as we begin this month long celebration of literacy, I've seen how Rotarians have helped empower communities with simple, creative, and sustainable ways to break the cycle of poor education. Literacy plays a critical role in healthy and productive lives, and whether it was by volunteering at a local school, bringing language training to adults and children through concentrated language encounter and computer-assisted literacy systems, or ensuring that all children have the textbooks they need, Rotarians have helped thousands.

Our promises and accomplishments have reached a turning point: We must now look at the goals we still aim to achieve. Keep the momentum up. Get the word out. Make sure your club knows about this important month in Rotary so that come next March, we'll have even greater successes to celebrate.

Wilfrid J. Wilkinson
Foundation Trustee Chair

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