Meeting in person beats meeting in cyberspace

June 2011

Carl-Wilhelm Stenhammar, Foundation Trustee Chair

Fellowship and friendship are two of the cornerstones on which Rotary is built – two components of Rotarians’ work that are indeed important. At any given meeting, one can only do a certain amount of work during the time allocated for the actual meeting. An equal amount of work is done during coffee breaks, luncheons, dinners, or over a drink in the bar. These opportunities make it possible to get to know the person – or see the face – behind all the e-mails and the phone calls.

Cyberspace has given an opportunity for rapid communication. We can have more frequent meetings at considerably lower costs. But has it helped personal relationships? I doubt it.

The supreme occasion to feel the internationality of our organization is the annual Rotary International Convention – the latest one in New Orleans. To meet and greet Rotarians from all over the world during a period of almost a week is unforgettable. To enjoy the plenaries, to participate in the breakout sessions, to have a meal with new and old friends are highlights during such a convention. In addition, to look at the colorful dresses worn by so many Rotarians, particularly from Africa, Asia, and South America, is an aesthetic delight. May a Rotary International Convention never be transferred to cyberspace!

With due respect for cyberspace, the face-to-face meetings are of highest value. The possibility of a handshake or a hug can never be replaced. If a cyberspace convention were to happen, we shall lose the fellowship and friendship, which are so important when we are Building Communities – Bridging Continents through Service Above Self..

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About John Borst

John Borst’s career in education spans the years 1960 to 1996. During those 36 years, he spent an equal amount of time working int he English language, Public and Catholic school boards. Borst taught in both elementary and high school environments. Positions of responsibilities held included department head in Geography, curriculum coordinator of Social and Environmental Studies, Principal, Education Officer with the Ministry of Education, Superintendent of Schools, and Superintendent of Student Services. Borst retired in 1996 as Director of Education for the legacy Dryden Board of Education. During this time, Borst has lived in the Ontario communities of Brampton, Toronto, Newmarket, Thunder Bay, Aurora and Dryden. Currently, Borst splits his time between Dryden and Toronto. Since retirement, Borst has served as a Supervisory Officer with a remote School Authority; been a freelance writer of articles on education in particular for Education Today, the magazine of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA); founded and edited from 2006 - 2010 the Education blog Tomorrow’s Trust: A Review of Catholic Education; and from 2003-2010 was a trustee of the Northwest Catholic District School Board.
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