• John F. Germ of Chattanooga, TN, took office as president of Rotary International on July 1. In this, his first message, he sets the tone for his term in office.
Today, we look ahead toward a Rotary year that may one day be known as the greatest in our history: the year that sees the world’s last case of polio.
Wild poliovirus caused only 74 cases of polio in 2015, all of them in Afghanistan and Pakistan. As we continue to work tirelessly toward our goal of eradication, we also must look beyond it, preparing to leverage our success into even greater successes to come.
It is tremendously important to Rotary’s future that our role in the eradication of polio be recognized. The more we are known for what we’ve achieved, the more we’ll be able to attract the partners, the funding, and, most important, the members to achieve even more. We’re working hard at RI headquarters [in Evanston, IL] to be sure that Rotary gets that recognition.
Every day that you serve in Rotary, you have the opportunity to change lives.
Everything you do matters.
But, it can’t all happen there. We need you to get the word out through your clubs and in your communities about what Rotary is and what we do. We need to be sure that our clubs are ready for the moment when polio finally is eradicated, so that when people who want to do good see that Rotary is a place where they can change the world, every Rotary club is ready to give them that opportunity.
We know that if we want to see [the motto] “Rotary Serving Humanity” even better in the years ahead, we’ll need more willing hands, more caring hearts, and more bright minds to move our work forward. We’ll need clubs that are flexible, so Rotary service will be attractive to younger members, recent retirees, and working people. We’ll need to seek out new partnerships, opening ourselves more to collaborative relationships with other organizations.
Looking ahead, we also see a clear need to prioritize continuity in our leadership. We in Rotary all are playing on the same team, working toward the same goals. If we want to reach those goals together, we all have to move in the same direction, together.
Every day that you serve in Rotary, you have the opportunity to change lives. Everything you do matters; every good work makes the world better for us all. In this new Rotary year, we all have a new chance to change the world for the better, through “Rotary Serving Humanity.”