Arte, Social, Política e Vida em todo o seu cortejo, para todos, em qualquer lugar, seja qual for a língua,
Arts, Social, Policy and Life concerns, to everybody, everywhere, in any language
domingo, 30 de janeiro de 2011
BRIDGING CONTINENTS TO EMBRACE HUMANITY
Despite the years, I can vividly recall my experience as an incoming district governor at the 1975 International Assembly in Boca Raton. It was the beginning of a new adventure in service for me, and I took seriously the advice offered by the various speakers. I also talked with my new friends about the incoming president's [RI] theme, and I hope you will do the same as you contemplate President-elect Kalyan's theme of Reach Within to Embrace Humanity. It is philosophical, and it deserves reflection and discussion.
Kalyan's theme is part of your new adventure in service, and I want to express my appreciation to Kalyan for giving me this opportunity to show the relationship between his theme and mine. In particular, he has asked me to tie one aspect of his theme, embracing humanity, to the second part of my theme, bridging continents, which is easy to do. We all know that Rotary is a premier organization, and we do many things well. But the area in which we clearly excel is international service, as we bridge continents in order to embrace humanity.
When a class of business students at Northwestern University recently used Rotary as a case study, they concluded that Rotary empowers people to become better friends, better professionals, and better citizens of the world. I like that statement because one of the objectives for this meeting is to expose you to the internationality of Rotary and thereby enable you to become better citizens of the world. In truth, I think it would be difficult to enjoy this wonderful week of meeting high-quality Rotarians from around the globe without becoming better citizens of the world. Indeed, it is the magic of Rotary!
So how do we proceed to embrace humanity with our new friends and our new commitment to bridge continents? The good news is that Rotary provides several options for our clubs and Rotarians to be involved in international service, and I want to review a few of them with you. After all, the quest for international understanding, goodwill, and peace is part of our Rotary DNA.
One of my favorite programs for bridging continents is Rotary Youth Exchange. I agree with Past [RI] President Carl-Wilhelm Stenhammar that if all the 17-year-olds in the world could spend a year with Rotarians in a country other than their own, there would be no more wars. Although we do not reach all the young people in the world, we do provide high-quality youth exchanges for more than 8,000 high school students every year, which is an amazing contribution to world understanding. Many of your districts have very strong Youth Exchange programs, and I salute all of the Rotarians involved in Youth Exchange. I often find that our Youth Exchange workers are some of the most committed Rotarians in all of Rotary.
One of my concerns about Rotary Youth Exchange is that it usually involves only the children of parents who can afford the travel expenses. Several districts are now providing scholarships for Rotary Youth Exchange students from developing countries whose parents cannot afford the travel costs, and I encourage your districts to consider such scholarships. Our Youth Exchange program will celebrate its finest hour when we make it possible for all highly qualified students to have an opportunity to participate and to promote peace in the world.
One of the chief benefits of the Rotary Youth Exchange program is the personal contacts and lasting friendships made by the students during their year abroad. It is a clear indication that the best way for all of us to be involved in bridging continents to embrace humanity is to take the time to travel. We have a network of 34,000 clubs awaiting the arrival of Rotarians who are truly interested in providing international service. For that reason, I hope you will encourage Rotarians in your districts to participate in National Immunization Days, often called NIDs, still to be conducted before the demise of polio. Such NID trips are not only helpful to support the eradication of polio but life-changing experiences for the Rotarians who participate. Such trips are good for all Rotarians, and if we help younger Rotarians to make the NID trips, we will gain their avid support of Rotary for many years to come.
The electronic age has made it much easier for Rotary clubs and districts to find international partners for Matching Grants and Rotary Foundation Global Grants, and Foundation programs are poised for expansion, which is exciting news. At the same time, we don't want to forget the value of personal friendships in our international service projects. I think that is a significant part of the message in Kalyan's theme because one of the definitions of the word embrace is to hug or cherish. We cannot hug or cherish humanity effectively without personal contact, and we have learned that the best Foundation projects usually are developed by districts that have established continuing partnerships. And the best partnerships are those forged through the personal visits of Rotarians back and forth between the partner districts.
It is the need for personal contacts to stimulate projects that caused me to develop the Rotary Project Safaris program, which encourages small teams of Rotarians to make international visits to spend a week in viewing Rotary projects that need funding, while visiting a few tourist sites at the same time. It is a program that I hope you will continue in your districts next year because the Rotary Project Safaris are designed for bridging continents to embrace humanity. The safaris are not an official program of Rotary, but they fit well with Kalyan's theme to Reach Within to Embrace Humanity.
I could go on and on with these remarks about embracing humanity through personal.visits. After all, I am a past district governor, and it is well known that most PDGs like to talk — often for longer periods than they should! Please keep that allegation in mind when you join our ranks at the end of your year as governors. Don't add to our bad reputation for talking too much!
Many speakers miss some good opportunities to quit talking and sit down, which is understandable, because the most difficult part of public speaking is learning how to end a speech and exit the stage effectively. Please think carefully about your closing sentences as you develop the speeches for your clubs. A strong ending for a speech is critical to its success!
So now that I have offered this unsolicited advice, are you wondering how I plan to end these remarks and exit the stage? That is simple for me, because "cowboy logic" says that we should talk less and say more. It is easy for me to talk less when the topic assigned to me by President-elect Kalyan is so straightforward and self-evident. Is there any doubt that Rotary is the best in the world at bridging continents? And must we not embrace humanity to achieve our goal of international understanding, goodwill, and peace? The two phrases go together like a hand and glove, and I want to endorse Kalyan's theme, which brings these two concepts together so powerfully.
We are lucky to be Rotarians, and the time has come for us to fulfill our core essence as stated by the Northwestern University students in their report about Rotary. In their words, Rotary is a worldwide network of inspired individuals who translate their passions into relevant social causes to change lives in communities!
Let me say it again: Rotary is a worldwide network of inspired individuals who translate their passions into relevant social causes to change lives in communities. It is a tremendous tribute by the students, and we should be justly proud of their conclusion. Now the question for you is the following: Will Rotary continue to live up to the students' expectations in your districts? Yes, your districts can do it, if you exercise the needed leadership. And as a group, we will do it even better than before, if we are willing to continue bridging continents to embrace humanity and thereby make the world a better place! Ray Kingensmith
in San Diego 2011 International Assembly
Jannuary 2011 PHOTOS: Two Thai dancers from Bangkok (2011 San Diego International Assembly); I and the Governor couple Armindo Carolino and Gina, with some other friends, in front of the major Rotarian statue in Leiria, Portugal, which I promoted; The Polio Saga End was present in the San Diego International Talent Festival; Ray Klingensmith in the 2010 International Assembly; PE Kaliany Banergie and his wife Binota and the PP Ragendra Saboo and wife; My first International Assembly at Anaheim; My dear friend Carmen Sorjus and Binota Banergie; My second International Assembly; the current 1970 District Governor Armindo Carolino and Leiria club President Manuela Santos, Portugal, visits Leiria Mayor Raul Castro; Kaliany Banergie (San Diego 2011)