The Relevance of Rotary - November Governor’s Message


There are no barriers in Rotary – not age, gender, ethnicity, religion or any other kind. Rotary has and always will be a values, vocationally based organisation that joins together people from diverse backgrounds, to exchange ideas and take action. During my visits to clubs I see the faces of the world sitting at our club meetings, representing many cultures, religions, age groups and so on. The youngest inductee to D9800 this year is 19 years of age, and the oldest, many times more than that. Rotary is relevant to people of all ages.

Stephanie Woollard and Khurram Khan are just two examples of young Rotarians who have found that Rotary is enormously relevant to their lives. They belong to clubs that have been around many years, whose members encourage, mentor and support them to be the best they can be. So here are a couple of things that you should be aware of that these two Rotarians are involved in which Rotary is supporting.

Stephanie Woollard - Rotary Day at the United Nations – 2016

As reported in last edition, Melbourne Rotary member Stephanie Woollard is one of six individuals world wide to be honored at the Rotary Day at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 12 November 2016. The theme for the awards is “Business and Rotary Serving Humanity” and the event is entitled, Responsible Business, Resilient Societies with the feature being the Rotary Responsible Business Awards. An audience of 1,350+ participants will be in attendance including Rotary members and guests and non-Rotary affiliated participants, with a Global audience via livestream viewing. The key message is that Rotary provides the intersection of commerce and cause, and that as a business owner; you can be both socially conscious and profitable.

Stephanie will be part of a breakout spotlight on Women, Enterprise and Development. Understanding that successful and sustainable economic development must involve women and girls, this session addresses the key steps for implementation in developed and developing countries. The session participants include, Moderator:  Suraj Bhatia, (Rotary Representative to the United Nations/ New York); UN Expert:  Meg Jones, (Chief, Economic Empowerment, UN Women); Business Expert: Dr. Ketki Shah, (Program Director, Women Empowerment, Share and Care Foundation); and Rotary Responsible Business Honoree: Stephanie Woollard, (Rotary Club of Melbourne, Melbourne).

Khurram Khan - Winter Program on the United Nations and Global Challenges 2017

It gives me great pleasure to also congratulate Hoppers Crossing Rotarian, Khurram Khan, who has been offered an opportunity to attend a Winter Policy Development Program at the United Nations in Geneva. You may recall that Khurram is this year’s Young Victorian of the Year, and a Rotary – Royce Abbey Champion of Change awardee.

The winter program is jointly run by the Graduate Institute of Geneva and the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva. The program gives an insight into the United Nations and provides an exchange study experience. In academic and professional circles, the school is considered one of Europe's most prestigious institutions, which counts ambassadors, foreign ministers, heads of state, UN Secretary-General (Kofi Annan), seven Nobel prize recipients, and one Pulitzer Prize winner among its alumni.

Stephanie and Khurram are just a sample of the many Rotarians who are doing amazing things. Age is not a barrier to what we can achieve. As I’ve stated before, there are things each of us can do that the other cannot, so by working together we can do so much more than we could by ourselves. 

The Rotary Showcase Program 2016 – 2017

You have no doubt heard about the three District 9800 Rotary Showcase Programme for the 2016-17 year. Their aim is to exhibit the wide breadth of Rotary projects to the local community and in doing so, generate interest in Rotary within those communities with an expectation that people will want to know more and end up joining a club. We have selected venues that attract large numbers of people, so the Showcases will be held in the following locations:

  • Bendigo – Lake Weeroona on Australia Day, Thursday 26th January, 2017.
  • Melbourne – In the Atrium, Federation Square on Saturday 25th February, 2017.
  • Echuca – At Rotary Park during the Queen’s Birthday Steam Rally weekend from Saturday 10th June to Sunday 11th June, 2017.

International Service Chairman, Ian Salek and his Showcase sub-committee are now seeking your active participation to demonstrate what Rotary does in the world locally and overseas. If we want more members we need to leverage the stories and these Showcases are an opportunity to leverage what we do in our clubs.

You Don’t Need A Lot of Time – Just The Right Heart!

As I have outlined, Rotary is relevant to anyone who has the heart to want to help others. We realise the difference a little of our time can make, what our skills can bring, by working together, sharing our passion, talents, knowledge and skills and doing what we can, when we can to achieve the most we can without compromising our values. We bring the hope of a better life for our communities and we will leave a polio free world to our children and grandchildren. When you invite someone to be a member of Rotary and they say they don’t have the time, just tell them you’ll take what time they have. If they have the heart they will join.

When we are out and about at club public events and in our conversations with friends and family, let’s show and tell what we do and showcase the reality of ‘Rotary Serving Humanity’.

Neville John

District Governor 2016-2017

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