“Whatever Rotary may mean to us, to the world it will be known by the results it achieves.”
—Paul P. Harris
Rotary International founded, in Chicago in 1905 and established in Australia in 1921, is the world's leading global network of community volunteers with members drawn from business, the professions and community. Membership is open to men and women and in Australia there are 33,500 members in 1200 local clubs. Rotary clubs build wonderful friendships and their projects create amazing outcomes, provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards, and help build goodwill and peace throughout the world.
The Rotary Foundation, through its grants and programs, can help change the world. It can finance a well for a village, improve the environment, or provide scholarships, including Peace an Conflict Resolution scholarships, and help to realise Rotary's humanitarian mission throughout the world, including its number one goal since 1985 of eradicating polio.
Samuel F Owori
Rotary Club of Kampala, Uganda
The 2016-17 Nominating Committee for President of Rotary International has unanimously nominated Samuel Frobisher Owori, of the Rotary Club of Kampala, Uganda, to be the president of Rotary International in 2018-19. He will be declared the president-nominee on 1 October 2016 if no challenging candidates have been suggested.
Owori says he sees in Rotary "an incredible passion to make a difference." As president, he plans to "harness that enthusiasm and pride so that every project becomes the engine of peace and prosperity."
Owori's chief concerns as a Rotary leader are membership and extension. Since he served as district governor, the number of clubs in Uganda has swelled from nine to 89. He urges past, present, and future leaders to work together to engage more women, youth program participants, alumni, and community members to increase Rotary's membership in the coming years.
"There are many places which need Rotary and numerous potential members who have never been invited," he says. "The problem is Rotarians who got in and closed the doors."
Owori is chief executive officer of the Institute of Corporate Governance of Uganda. Before that, he was executive director of the African Development Bank, managing director of Uganda Commercial Bank Ltd., and director of Uganda Development Bank. He has studied law, employment relations, business management, corporate resources management, microfinance, and marketing at institutions in England, Japan, Switzerland, Tanzania, and the United States, including Harvard Business School.
Since becoming a member in 1978, Owori has served Rotary as regional Rotary Foundation coordinator, regional RI membership coordinator, RI Representative to the United Nations Environment Program and UN-Habitat, and RI director. He has been a member or chair of several committees, including the International PolioPlus Committee, the Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force, and the Audit Committee. Most recently, Owori served as trustee of The Rotary Foundation, chair of The Rotary Foundation's Finance Committee, and a member of the Investment Committee. Owori is a Benefactor of The Rotary Foundation, and he and his wife, Norah, are Major Donors and Paul Harris Fellows.
The Nominating Committee members are Sudarshan Agarwal, Rotary Club of Delhi, Delhi, India; Şafak Alpay, Rotary Club of Istanbul-Sisli, Turkey; Ronald L. Beaubien, Rotary Club of Coronado, California, USA; John B. Boag, Rotary E-Club of District 9650, New South Wales, Australia; Elio Cerini, Rotary Club of Milano Duomo, Italy; Luiz Coelho de Oliveira, Rotary Club of Limeira-Leste, São Paulo, Brazil; Frank N. Goldberg, Rotary Club of Omaha-Suburban, Nebraska, USA; Kenneth W. Grabeau, Rotary Club of Nashua West, New Hampshire, USA; Jackson S.L. Hsieh, Rotary Club of Taipei Sunrise, Taiwan; Mark Daniel Maloney (chair), Rotary Club of Decatur, Alabama, USA; Barry Matheson, Rotary Club of Jessheim, Norway; Kazuhiko Ozawa, Rotary Club of Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan; Ekkehart Pandel, Rotary Club of Bückeburg, Germany; Noraseth Pathmanand, Rotary Club of Bang Rak, Thailand; Robert S. Scott, Rotary Club of Cobourg, Ontario, Canada; John C. Smarge, Rotary Club of Naples, Florida, USA; Michael F. Webb, Rotary Club of Mendip, Somerset, England.
To learn more about Sam Owori, read this interview and vision statement outlining his goals for Rotary.
.' Presidential message
Ian H.S. Riseley
Rotary Club of Sandringham, Victoria, Australia,
February 2018One hundred thirteen years ago this month, the four members of Rotary's first club held their first meeting. Although no minutes were kept, it's unlikely anyone talked about service; the club did not begin focusing on the needs of the community for another few years.
The meeting was held not in a hotel or a restaurant, but in a member's office; there were, so far as we know, no agendas or announcements, no committee reports, speakers, or nametags. The meeting would have failed today's usual standards for a productive Rotary meeting most resoundingly. It was, of course, the most productive Rotary meeting ever held.
Today, as in 1905, many of us come to Rotary seeking what Paul Harris sought: friendship, connections, a place to feel at home. But today, Rotary gives us so much more than it could ever have given its earliest members in those earliest days. The Rotary of today, more than 1.2 million members strong, lets us feel at home not only in a small group of our peers, but also in our diverse clubs, across our communities, and indeed throughout the world. Today, Rotary connects us all in a way that Paul Harris could never have dreamed on that February evening so long ago. Not only can we go anywhere in the world there is a Rotary club and feel at home, but we can reach out to anywhere in the world there is a Rotary club and make a difference.
In the 113 years since that first meeting, Rotary has become far larger, and more diverse, than those founding members could have conceived. We have gone from an organization that was all white and all male to one that welcomes women and men of every possible background. We have become an organization whose stated purpose is service, reflected in our motto, Service Above Self. And we have become not only an organization that is capable of changing the world, but one that has already done so, through our work to eradicate polio.
None of us can know what lies ahead for Rotary. It remains for all of us to continue to build on the solid foundations that were laid for us by Paul Harris and his friends: to forge and strengthen the bonds of service and friendship through Rotary: Making a Difference.
January 2018In Rotary, our diversity is our strength. This idea dates back to the earliest years of our organization, when the classification system was first proposed. The idea behind it was simple: that a club with members who had a wide variety of backgrounds and abilities would be capable of better service than one without.
In the years since, the idea of diversity in Rotary has come to be defined more broadly. We have discovered that a club that truly represents its community is far better able to serve that community effectively. Looking ahead, it is clear how essential diversity will remain in Rotary: not only to strong service today, but to a strong organization in the future.
One of the most pressing aspects of diversity to address in our membership is the age of our members. When you look around at almost any Rotary event, it becomes immediately obvious that the age range in the room does not promise a sustainable future for our organization. Our membership is near a record high, and we are bringing in new members all the time – yet only a small minority of those members are young enough to have decades of Rotary service ahead of them. To ensure a strong and capable Rotary leadership tomorrow, we need to bring in young and capable members today.
We also cannot discuss diversity in Rotary without addressing the issue of gender. It is difficult to imagine that just three decades ago, women could not join Rotary. Although we have come a long way since then, the legacy of that misguided policy is still with us. Far too many people continue to think of Rotary as an organization only for men, and that idea has had a detrimental effect on both our public image and our membership growth. Today, women make up just over 21 percent of Rotary's membership. While this is certainly a great improvement, we have a long way to go to meet what should be the goal of every club: a gender balance that matches the balance of our world, with as many women in Rotary as men.
Whatever brought each of us to Rotary, we stay because we find value in Rotary membership and believe that our service has value to the world. By building clubs that reflect that world in all its diversity, we will build even more enduring value in Rotary: Making a Difference.