Dear Fellow Rotarians,
Four months into this year of working to Light Up Rotary, I am more excited about Rotary than ever before. I’ve been to 22 countries, visited dozens of cities, and met thousands of Rotarians. I’ve seen amazing projects and been inspired over and over again by the terrific work Rotarians do all over the world. And I’ve been privileged to be part of all kinds of Rotary events, from club meetings to Rotary institutes, from Rotary Days to Foundation dinners.
Every event is memorable. I feel especially honoured when
I am invited to share in club celebrations. To me, taking part in a Rotary club celebration as Rotary International President is like being invited to a family event as an honoured guest. Indeed, Rotary is the biggest family in the world.
You could say that Rotary is built of service: Each project is another brick in the big building that is Rotary. If our service forms the bricks, then there is no question that friendship is the mortar that holds those bricks together. I see this every day, but nowhere more clearly than at some of the most special Rotary club events: their centennial celebrations.
Being President of Rotary International in its 110th year, I’ve been lucky to take part in a number of these. It is natural, when visiting long-serving clubs, to want to know what their secret is — because I have always noticed that the longest-serving clubs are also some of the most productive. They are large, they are active, and they do great work. Not only that, but they have a great time doing it.
Of course, that is their secret: In Rotary, strong friendships and great service go hand in hand. When we enjoy our work, we want to do it. We want to work harder, and we want to work better. We look forward to Rotary meetings. Even when our lives are busy, we make Rotary a priority — because we want to see our friends, and we want to serve.
That is why Rotary is still here, after more than 109 years. In Chinese, we say:
A life without a friend is a life without sun.
Our Rotary friendships give light to our lives, and it is Rotary friendship — as well as service — that lets us Light Up Rotary.
Gary C.K. Huang
President, Rotary International