As a Rotarian, “Everything you do matters”

John-GermBy John F. Germ, President Rotary International 2016-17

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 must also look beyond it: preparing to leverage our success into even greater successes to come. Continue reading

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A wall of flame will burn forever in my memory, dancing with light, shifting in shadow

Ravindran_KR_14By K R Ravindran, President 2015 – 16

British writer and Royal Air Force pilot Roald Dahl was also an avid photographer who carried his beloved Zeiss camera on his many adventures. At a time when each photograph had to be laboriously developed by hand, on film or glass plate negatives, he amassed a collection of hundreds of images. In later years, these photographs served as a visual record of his travels, a way to document his experiences and share them with others. Yet he always spoke of his memories as being far more vivid than the photographs could ever reflect. So many events and experiences, he said, were simply impossible to capture; they could not be adequately conveyed in images or words. Continue reading

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It’s the end of the movie & Ray Klinginsmith as the cowboy rides away

Klinginsmith_RayBy Ray Klinginsmith, Trustee Chair 2015 – 16

Western movies were the most popular film genre for several decades, and they were well known around the world. In many of them, after a victorious battle between the good guys and the bad guys, the hero would accept the appreciation of his friends and supporters – and then ride off alone into the sunset. Continue reading

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To tolerate discrimination against women is to doom Rotary to irrelevance

Ravindran_KR_14By K.R. Ravindran, President 2015-16

Some years ago, in the Kano plains of Kenya, a well-meaning development agency took on the task of improving water availability to a rural community. Committees were formed, meetings were held, and the local people were consulted. The main need the community identified was improved delivery of water for irrigation and livestock. A plan to meet this need was created, and the work was soon begun, exactly as the community representatives had requested. Continue reading

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100th Anniversary of The Rotary Foundation Starts with Seoul Convention

Klinginsmith_RayBy Ray Klinginsmith Trustee Chair 2015-16

The 100th anniversary of The Rotary Foundation will occur in June of next year, and a full year of activities is planned leading up to it, starting with the 2016 convention in Seoul and culminating with the 2017 convention in Atlanta. I remember well the excitement of the Rotary centennial in 2004-05, and I hope that Rotarians worldwide will treat the Foundation’s centennial with the same enthusiasm! Continue reading

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Corporate Social Responsibility: how to get the biggest bang for the buck!

Editor’s note: the following is an excerpt from a longer speech

KR-Ravindran-120pxBy K. R. “Ravi” Ravindran, RI President 2015-2016

These days, the question is not whether or not corporations need to be acting in ways that benefit their communities. The question is how to do it.

How do you do it, so that it is not just a tax you pay, because you have to, as a cost of doing business—but an investment?

How do you do it, so that you get the greatest return on that investment? For your community, and for future generations, and for your own business—which, if you are doing your business right, is supporting your community because you rely so much on the community to run your own business? Continue reading

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Can you put your hands, heart & sweat into doing the dirty work?

KR-Ravindran-120pxBy K R Ravindran President 2015 – 16

Many years ago, in Kolkata, India, I had the chance to meet Mother Teresa. She was an incredible woman with an incredible force of personality. When she walked down the street, the crowd parted in front of her like the Red Sea. Yet when you talked to her, if you mentioned the tremendous things she had done, she almost did not engage in this topic at all. By many reports, if you asked her what her greatest achievement was, she would answer, “I am an expert in cleaning toilets.” Continue reading

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