All over the world, in cities and towns, for well over a century, Rotarians have come together to serve. And in the years since Rotary was founded, countless Rotarians and others have discovered the joys of Rotary service, through Rotaract, Interact, Rotary Community Corps, Youth Exchange, and many other programs.
And we have all gained so much from our Rotary service. We’ve made friends, helped our communities, and made the world a better, safer, and healthier place. We’ve become part of a truly international network of volunteers, and we’ve learned how much we can achieve when we put our differences aside and work together.
Many of the ideas and values that we cherish in Rotary are not unique to Rotary. Perhaps the reason Rotary resonates so deeply with me is that I find many traditional Chinese values reflected in Rotary: values of service and responsibility, of respect for family and for others.
It is not surprising, then, that the ideas of Confucius so often guide me in my Rotary service. To me, Confucius was the original Rotarian. More than two thousand years before Paul Harris was born, he said: To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first set our hearts right.
And we recognize that in order to be ambitious in our service, we must first care for our own organization and expand our family of Rotary.
In 2014-15, I will ask all of you to Light Up Rotary — by sharing our service, strengthening our clubs, and letting our light shine in our communities.
In this Rotary year, we will Light Up Rotary by reaching our goal of 1.3 million Rotarians, bringing in new members while working to keep the members we have.
To do this, we’ll need to approach membership in new ways, and try new ideas. Hold a Rotary Day to give your community a chance to learn more about Rotary. Remember that Rotary is a family and is for the family: Encourage your spouse and other family members to consider joining, and reach out to Youth Exchange and Foundation alumni. Focus on your own club, and look realistically at why members stay, and why they leave. What can you do to make being a Rotarian an appealing and attractive opportunity for busy professionals and those with young families?
Polio eradication within the next few years is absolutely realistic — if we keep up our momentum. So tell your friends, associates, and elected officials how critical it is that we End Polio Now. Donate to the PolioPlus Fund and encourage others to do so as well.
By meeting the newest challenge issued by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we can make our money work three times as hard.
Be an active part of the greatest public-private health partnership in the history of the world, and share in the pride when the job is finished.
In 2014-15, as we strengthen our clubs and Light Up Rotary in more than 34,000 communities, our commitment and our service will light up the world.
Gary C.K. Huang
President, Rotary International, 2014-15