Nations around the world will observe the International Day of Peace on 21 September, a date designated by the United Nations in 2001 as "a day of global ceasefire and nonviolence."
Rotary's commitment to building peace and resolving conflict is rooted in the Rotary Peace Centers program, formed in 2002. Each year, the program prepares up to 100 fellows to work for peace through a two-year master's degree program or a three-month professional certificate program at university partners worldwide.
Today, nearly 1,000 peace centers alumni are applying their skills — negotiating peace in conflict areas, drafting legislation to protect exploited children, keeping communities safe through innovative law enforcement tactics, and pursuing many other career paths devoted to peace.
Presidential Message - September 2016
John F. Germ
In the summer of 1917, only a few months after the United States entered the first world war, Rotary held its eighth annual convention in Atlanta. Although many Rotarians at the time thought the convention should be canceled, the Board of Directors ultimately agreed with Paul Harris that it should continue as planned. In the midst of such uncertainty and fear, Harris penned, as part of his convention greeting, some of the most-quoted words in Rotary:
Individual effort when well directed can accomplish much, but the greatest good must necessarily come from the combined efforts of many men. Individual effort may be turned to individual needs but combined effort should be dedicated to the service of mankind. The power of combined effort knows no limitation.
Fittingly, it was at this convention that then-President Arch C. Klumph proposed a Rotary endowment fund “for the purpose of doing good in the world.” The power of combined effort was joined by a new power: that of combined resources. It was a combination that has proved unstoppable and has been behind so much of Rotary’s work for the last 100 years. Today, it is difficult to imagine Rotary without its Foundation. It was the Foundation that turned Rotary from an organization of local clubs into an international force for good with the power to change the world.
In this Rotary year, we are marking the centennial of our Rotary Foundation in the city where it all began: Atlanta. Our 108th Rotary International Convention promises to be one of the most exciting yet, with inspiring speakers, great entertainment, and a wide array of breakout sessions to help you move your Rotary service forward. And of course, we’ll be celebrating the Foundation’s centennial in style.
Whether you’re a regular convention goer, haven’t been to one in a few years, or haven’t yet attended your first, the 2017 convention will be the one you won’t want to miss. Atlanta is a great destination in its own right, with great food, friendly people, and many local attractions to enjoy. But the real reason to come to the convention is always the convention itself, and the people, ideas, inspiration, and friendship you’ll find there. To learn more, and save money on registration, visit www.riconvention.org. See you in Atlanta!
Presidential Message - August 2016
John F. Germ
Forty years ago, a man named George Campbell, the owner of the company I worked for, invited me to join Rotary. Back then, that was a common practice in the United States. Your boss invited you to join Rotary because he thought it would be good for business and good for the community, and you said yes. It’s not surprising that our membership surged during that period.
George warned me not to use Rotary as an excuse to slack off at work. Even so, I always had time to attend lunch meetings and serve on committees. I never had to worry that taking a long lunch once a week would hurt my advancement, or what my boss would think about the occasional Rotary phone call at work.
Today, things are different. Companies are less generous about time, and not every manager looks favorably on community service. It’s hard to enjoy a Rotary meeting when you’ve got emails piling up on your phone. It’s harder than ever to balance work with Rotary – and the model that gave us so much growth a few decades ago is part of what’s holding back our growth now.
That’s why the recent Council on Legislation adopted some innovative measures that allow clubs to vary their meeting times and expand their pool of prospective members. Clubs have more flexibility now to respond to the needs of their members and to clear away as many barriers to membership as they can. But there’s one barrier to membership that only you can remove, one thing that every prospective member needs to become a Rotarian: an invitation to join a Rotary club.
Whenever I tell a group of Rotarians that we need more willing hands, more caring hearts, and more bright minds to move our work forward, everyone applauds. But those hands, hearts, and minds won’t magically appear in our clubs. We have to ask them to join. And an invitation to Rotary is something that only you can give. An invitation is a gift. It’s saying to someone, “I think you have the skills, the talent, and the character to make our community better, and I want you to join me in doing that.”
I’m the president of Rotary International, but the only club I can invite someone to join is the Rotary Club of Chattanooga, Tenn. I can’t make your club or your community stronger. Only you can do that – by inviting the qualified people you know to join you in Rotary Serving Humanity.
The Four-Way Test
Of the things we think, say or do:
1. Is it the TRUTH?
2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
Rotary's Mottos are:
Service Above Self and One Profits Most Who Serves Best