Some years ago, a new acquaintance asked me what should have been a simple question: “What is Rotary?” I opened my mouth to reply and then stopped short with the realisation that I simply did not know where to begin. The problem wasn’t that I didn’t know what Rotary was. The problem was that Rotary was — and is — too large and complex to easily define. We are a member-based organisation, a club-based organisation, and a service based organisation; we are local, regional, and international; we are community members, business people and professionals, working and retired, active in nearly every country in the world. Every one of our 1.2 million members has a unique set of goals, experiences, and priorities; every one of us has a unique understanding of Rotary.
To me, Rotary is defined not by who we are, but by what we do — by the potential that Rotary gives us, and the ways we realise that potential in meaningful and lasting service. Rotary has been around for a long time: 112 years. In some ways, we’ve changed tremendously, as we’ve grown, matured, and adapted to the changing needs of our members and communities. In our fundamentals, however, we remain the same: an organisation of people with the desire — and through Rotary, the ability — to make a difference in our communities, and the world. We answer the question “What is Rotary?” with our actions, by making a difference through our service.
As an organisation, we recognise how important it is that the world understand what Rotary is, and what we do. At the same time, we know that it is more important than ever to allow our clubs to define Rotary service for themselves. As Rotarians, we have more flexibility than ever to decide how we want our clubs to meet, work, and grow. We’re focused more than ever on making sure that Rotary reflects the people it serves, with more women and a more diverse membership. And we’re working hard to ensure that Rotary remains the world’s pre-eminent volunteer service organisation, by emphasising long-term planning, sustainable service, and continuity in leadership on every level.
In 2017-18, we will answer the question “What is Rotary?” with the theme Rotary: Making a Difference. However each of us chooses to serve, we do it because we know our service makes a difference in the lives of others. Whether we are building a new playground or a new school, improving medical care or sanitation, training conflict mediators or midwives, we know that the work we do will change people’s lives — in ways large and small — for the better. Whatever motivation each of us had for joining Rotary, it is the satisfaction we find in Rotary that causes us to remain, the satisfaction of knowing that week by week, year by year, we are part of Rotary: Making a Difference.
Ian H.S. Riseley
President, Rotary International, 2017-18
DG's Handbag Campaign
The Dictionary 4 Life Project is free standing project working in association with the Rotary Club of Battersea, Brixton and Clapham (District 1130), Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland and Usborne Publishing Ltd.
In Windsor it is managed by Windsor & Eton and Windsor St George Rotary Clubs, with support from Rotary District 1090.
The Usborne Illustrated UK Standard edition Dictionary 4 Life comprises 1,000 illustrations, 10,000 entries and 20,000 definitions printed in full colour on leaflet grade paper from a sustainable forest and contains 288 pages. It promotes British English and encourages children to widen their vocabularies and improve their life chances. The project was initiated in 2007 and so far has provided more than 1 million dictionaries across the world.
By using dictionaries efficiently, children will explore spellings, meanings and derivations for example by using alphabetical order, abbreviations and definitions with understanding. One of the most positive aspects of being able to use a dictionary is that it helps to develop autonomy and confidence in the learner — one of the core goals of education. It promotes books and the printed word. It will be a “possession” for the child. It will enable both first and second language users to extend and improve the accuracy of their vocabulary. It should help children with their homework in secondary education. In some homes it may also form a reference work for all the family.
Windsor Rotary Clubs have been running this project since 2007 as part of their Youth Initiatives in the local community along with Youth Speaks, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, and supporting local Rotakids and Interact club(s).
A quiz held on Friday, March 15, to raise money for Thames Valley Adventure Playground and other charities included a visit from Tim Brooke-Taylor. The 76-year-old comedian entertained participants in the Thames Valley Pub Quiz Championship, which was held at the Holiday Inn in Manor Lane, with his trademark humour.
Organised by the Maidenhead Thames Rotary Club, a total of 260 people in 34 teams took part in the event, which is expected to have raised more than £3,000. Half of the total figure will go to Thames Valley Adventure Playground, the rest will be used for Rotary projects.
Our club entered two teams of 8 this year, with the team Mind Bogglers coming 17th place with 162 points and our second team, The Free Thinkers, coming 25th with 144 points. Congratulations to the winners, The Quizlings, with 184 points, and also to Maidenhead Bridge Rotary Club who were second, just one point away from winning!
A great night full of laughter that got the grey matter working at the same time! Best get quizzing up for next year!
Written by Colin Coombs
Members of District 9 Inner Wheel and the longest surviving club so far, the Inner Wheel Club of Windsor & Eton, celebrated its 80th anniversary at the idyllic setting of Stirrups Country House Hotel in Maidens Green (Bracknell) together with friends and families, including the RBWM Mayor and Mayoress. Seven of our own Rotarians and their spouses also attend, along with former member Bob Heybourn and Christine.
The celebration was started by the current president Mary Weaver, with words of gratitude about the past, present and the future.
Representatives from District 9 (Vicky Mountford), the Association of Inner Wheel Clubs in GB&I (Ann Acaster), the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (Mayor Paul Lion), Windsor & Eton Rotary Club (Richard Carleton) and the Rotary Club of Windsor St. George (Andreas Stavrinides) presented their greetings and spoke highly about the Inner Wheel Club's involvement in the local communities.
There followed an excellent 3-course lunch and coffee and mints after which there was a short 'thank you all' from Inner Wheel President Mary.
The lunch guest was a distinguished harpist, Margaret Watson Dip. ABRSM, one of the busiest professional harpists in the South East, with performances for social and corporate events. Not only did Margaret play a wide variety of music, ranging from 'pop' through 'traditional' to classic, but also talked about the harp as an instrument; how it was made (cost of a new one about £30k); the (47) strings, tuning and playing - seven-foot pedals with 3 positions for each pedal!
Absolutely fascinating and informative - and her final quote, from the composer Shostakovich, "a harpist spends 90% of the time tuning the harp and 10% of the time playing out-of-tune" brought the house down.
The celebration could not have ended without the traditional raffle and after the final toast we all wended our way home from a splendid luncheon.
By Chris Simon and Paul Andreianu
2019-20 RI president announces his presidential theme
Rotary International President-elect Mark Daniel Maloney explained his vision for building a stronger Rotary, calling on leaders to expand connections to their communities and to embrace innovative membership models.
RI President-elect Mark Daniel Maloney announces the 2019-20 presidential theme, Rotary Connects the World, to incoming district governors in San Diego, California, USA.
Maloney, a member of the Rotary Club of Decatur, Alabama, USA, unveiled the 2019-20 presidential theme, Rotary Connects the World, to incoming district governors at Rotary’s annual training event, the International Assembly, in San Diego, California, USA, on Monday.
“The first emphasis is to grow Rotary — to grow our service, to grow the impact of our projects, but most importantly, to grow our membership so that we can achieve more,” Maloney said. Maloney believes that connection is at the heart of the Rotary experience. “Rotary allows us to connect with each other, in deep and meaningful ways, across our differences,” Maloney said. “It connects us to people we would never otherwise have met, who are more like us than we ever could have known. It connects us to our communities, to professional opportunities, and to the people who need our help.”
Maloney also called on every Rotary and Rotaract club to identify segments of their community not represented in their club by creating a membership committee with diverse members. “Through Rotary, we connect to the incredible diversity of humanity on a truly unique footing, forging deep and lasting ties in pursuit of a common goal,” he added. “In this ever more divided world, Rotary connects us all.”
Maloney urged leaders to offer alternative meeting experiences and service opportunities to make it easier for busy professionals and people with many family obligations to serve in leadership roles. “We need to foster a culture where Rotary does not compete with the family, but rather complements it,” Maloney said. “That means taking real, practical steps to change the existing culture: being realistic in our expectations, considerate in our scheduling, and welcoming of children at Rotary events on every level.”
Maloney said many of the barriers that prevent people from serving as leaders in Rotary are based on expectations that are no longer relevant. “It is time to adapt, to change our culture, and to convey the message that you can be a great district governor without visiting every club individually, and a great president without doing everything yourself.”
Relationship with the United Nations
During 2019-20, Rotary will host a series of presidential conferences around the world, focusing on Rotary’s relationship with the United Nations and the UN’s sustainable development goals that many Rotary service projects support. More information will be available in July.
In 2020, the United Nations will celebrate the 75th anniversary of its charter and its mission of promoting peace. Rotary was one of 42 organisations the United States invited to serve as consultants to its delegation at the 1945 San Francisco conference, which led to the UN’s charter. For decades, Rotary has worked alongside the United Nations to address humanitarian issues around the world. Today, Rotary holds the highest consultative status that the UN offers to nongovernmental organisations.
“Rotary shares the United Nations’ enduring commitment to a healthier, more peaceful, and more sustainable world,” Maloney said. “And Rotary offers something no other organisation can match: an existing infrastructure that allows people from all over the world to connect in a spirit of service and peace and take meaningful action toward that goal.”
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