A memorable day in Evanston

Kishore Rathi (third from L) with his wife Kajal at the Rotary headquarters, after witnessing the change-over ceremony between PRIP Jennifer Jones and RI President Gordon McInally.
Kishore Rathi (third from L) with his wife Kajal at the Rotary headquarters, after witnessing the change-over ceremony between PRIP Jennifer Jones and RI President Gordon McInally.

I was lucky enough to be at the One Rotary Center, the RI headquarters in Evanston, US, on June 30 with a bunch of Rotarians from countries such as Poland, UK, US and India.

One of the highlights of our visit was experiencing the changing over ceremony between the then president ­Jennifer Jones and the incoming president ­Gordon McInally. The ceremony comprised Jones walking alongside McInally from his office to the ­President’s office, after reaching which he shared his theme for 2023–2024: Create Hope in the World. After the photo frame of his theme had been put in place, a toast of champagne was raised to the completion of a successful term by Jones.

It was inspiring to witness the dedication and passion with which Rotary International approaches several humanitarian endeavour.

The tour started with paying respect to the Paul Harris statue and an insightful speech by Gina Clark, our tour programme specialist, who eloquently outlined Rotary’s mission and commitment to making a positive impact on communities worldwide. We then saw the actual replica of the room where the first meeting of ­Rotary’s founders was held.

We then proceeded to the 15th floor where we saw the Arch Klumph’s Wall of Rotarians who have supported various causes with their generous donations.

Later we proceeded to the 16th floor which has flags of over 200 countries and the RI boardroom where the board meetings are conducted.

During the tour, we met general secretary John Hewko, who explained the great humanitarian projects done by Rotary in war-torn Ukraine. Until today, Rotary has collectively donated $15 million for relief in Ukraine and ­Turkey. He urged all of us to attend the ­Singapore Convention in 2024.

The meeting provided a platform for open dialogue and exchange of ideas. It was a privilege to engage in conversations with fellow attendees, including Rotarians and other individuals who share a common goal of serving humanity. The diversity of perspectives and experiences shared during the event enriched my ­understanding of the global impact Rotary makes.

The insight gained from these interactions will undoubtedly shape my own contribution to the community.

The writer is a member of RC Nagpur South East, RID 3030


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