My fellow Rotarians and friends of Rotary
are some images so powerful they can never be forgotten. That was my
experience when I viewed a famous photograph of the late Princess of Wales,
Diana. At first glance, the captured scene shows Diana smiling warmly, the
princess shaking the hand of an unidentified man. But it's the
photographer's story that makes it remarkable. On April 19, 1987, when
Princess Diana visited London Middlesex Hospital, the United Kingdom was
engulfed in a wave of panic as it was confronted with the AIDS epidemic. Not
knowing much about the disease-which often killed with terrifying speed-was
spread, the public at times treated AIDS victims like social pariahs. So it
was a stunning moment when Diana, with ungloved hands and a genuine smile,
calmly shook an AIDS patient's hand that day. That image of respect and
kindness touched the world to treat victims of the disease with similar
mercy and compassion.
The picture reminds me of something I often forget: freely and generously
offering the love of humanity is an act of love, which is worth it.
Rotarians don't miss any opportunity to give. We give - help to the helpless
and hope to the hopeless. We also take a stand when it matters - whether it
is risky or unpopular to save humankind and serve the needy people. We
always step out to address the "need of the hour". Whatever the project, be
it a foodbank for the homeless due to lockdown, a publicity initiative to
support vaccination, educating the indigenous community in regional
Australia, youth empowerment scholarships for the local community or our
recent Covid global grant projects in India and Sri Lanka - our Rotarians
contribute very generously.
Our first Club Assembly for the new year was a successful event last week.
We started our year with a strong Strategic Plan, and our board presented a
detailed implementation and execution plan based on our strategy. All our
club members are dedicated people who share a passion for both community
service and friendship. We had a very healthy discussion for more than an
hour, and the outcome was relevant and timely for us to move forward with
the next 50 years of serving our community locally and globally. We are
conscious of one thing - some leaders are good in strategic planning and
some leaders are good in strategic execution, but great leaders are good in
both strategic planning as well as execution.
Rotary International has dedicated the month of August as a MEMBERSHIP
DEVELOPMENT MONTH. I cannot emphasise strongly enough that the goal of this
month is not getting the largest and most impressive numbers. There is not
going to be any competition, recognition, or public use whatsoever of the
numbers reported by any individual club. Our goal is to increase the number
of quality members. The goal that answers not only the question, "What is
Rotary?" but the question, "What does Rotary do?"
I strongly believe that with these numbers, we will be better able to
demonstrate the value of Rotary: Making a Difference - which in time will
enable us to make more of a difference, for more people, in more ways, than
ever. The lockdown is not good at all, but not even the lockdown can stop
the Rotarians from serving the underprivileged and deprived community among
Yours in Rotary,