President Kanthan, Ernie and District Govenor

President Kanthan, District Govenor and Ernie

 

District Govenor and Ernie

 

President Kanthan , Andile, District Govenor and Rori

 


 

In Rotary, we have the opportunity to build bonds of friendship with fellow Rotarians around the world. And once a year, at our international convention, we have the chance to get together with all of our Rotary friends, to share new ideas, plan new service, and just have fun.

What better way to celebrate the end of the 2014-15 Rotary year, and Light Up Rotarywith your friends, than to travel together to the 106th annual Rotary International Convention in São Paulo, Brazil? Whether you have never been to a convention before or are an experienced convention goer, this will be one you won't want to miss. Preregistration pricing ends on 31 March, so plan now for the biggest Rotary party of the year.

The convention will begin on Saturday, 6 June, and after the opening ceremony there will be a traditional Brazilian Carnival party and a Samba School Parade at the Anhembi Sambadrome. Even if you think you have no rhythm or can't carry a tune, you will find yourself dancing, singing, and laughing all night long. The party and parade will feature the bright colors, feathers, and sequins of Carnival costumes as well as the sights and sounds of samba, the Afro-Brazilian music and dance, and the delicious food and drinks of São Paulo.

On Monday night, Ivete Sangalo, winner of two Latin Grammy Awards, will entertain Rotarians. And every evening of the convention, Rotary Restaurant Nights will let you enjoy discounts in the culinary capital of Latin America. Savor fish from the Amazon, sushi with a Latin flair, Brazilian beef, and other offerings from some of São Paulo's 30,000 restaurants and bars. Admission to several museums in São Paulo, including the excellent soccer museum, will also be free with your convention badge.

Brazil reflects a diversity almost as great as Rotary's: Paulistanos, as the people of São Paulo are known, have created a lively culture with influences from all over the world. One of the highlights of any Rotary convention is always hospitality night, where you can get to know local Rotarians. Monday night is your chance to experience the paulistano lifestyle with the Rotarians of Brazil – but be sure to book early, as numbers are limited.

In Rotary, service and friendship go hand in hand. As you focus on the work of this Rotary year, I ask you not to lose sight of the importance of international friendship, and to register for the São Paulo convention now, at .


23 February 2015 will mark the 110th birthday of Rotary International.  Our 1.2 million-member organization started with the vision of one man—Paul P. Harris. The Chicago attorney formed one of the world’s first service organizations, the Rotary Club of Chicago, on 23 February 1905 as a place where professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships. Rotary’s name came from the group’s early practice of rotating meetings among the offices of each member.
 
“WHATEVER ROTARY MAY MEAN TO US, TO THE WORLD IT WILL BE KNOWN BY THE RESULTS IT ACHIEVES.” - PAUL P. HARRIS
 
Paul P. Harris, an attorney, wanted to create a professional group with the same friendly spirit he felt in the small towns of his youth. On 23 February 1905, Harris, Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele, and Hiram Shorey gathered at Loehr’s office in Room 711 of the Unity Building in downtown Chicago. This was the first Rotary club meeting. They decided to call the new club “Rotary” after the practice of rotating meeting locations.
 
Within five years clubs had formed across the country, from San Francisco to New York.
 

 


 

GARY C.K. HUANGAs president of Rotary, it's my job to encourage and inspire Rotarians wherever I meet them. It's also my job to listen to what they have to say. Whether it's a successful project or a challenge to overcome, a great Rotary Day or a new idea, I want to hear what Rotarians are thinking, doing, and planning. So whenever I travel, I ask my hosts to talk to me about their clubs. What's going well, where do they see a need to improve, and what can we at RI headquarters do to help?

The answers are always interesting and often surprising. Sometimes I have a suggestion or an idea to contribute; sometimes I am able to make a connection that will move a project forward. Often, I go back to Evanston with ideas and insights that help guide us in our decisions. But what I value most about these conversations are the stories I hear – the stories that, taken together, tell the story of Rotary.

In Atlanta, I attended a Rotary event honoring teachers and heard story after story about the gift of literacy and how it transforms lives. In Istanbul, I attended a wheelchair race and learned how Turkish Rotarians are working to improve the lives of people with disabilities. In Lima, Peru, I talked to a former Rotaractor who waited nearly 20 years to be invited to join a Rotary club, and heard about how returning to Rotary has transformed her life.

I've heard stories that have made me laugh, and stories that have moved me to tears. I've heard stories of how our service changes the lives of others, and how it changes us as Rotarians. When I hear these stories, I can't help but wonder: How many other lives could we change for the better by bringing more people into Rotary? And how many more people could we bring into Rotary simply by sharing our own Rotary stories?

In this Rotary year, I ask all of you to do just that: Share your Rotary stories. Tell them to your friends, on social media, and through Rotary.org. Our Rotary stories are what inspire us, and what encourage others to join us; they help light up our service, as we work to Light Up Rotary.