Celebrating diversity, attracting more youth to Rotary, leadership roles and having a strategic vision are some of the issues deliberated at a panel discussion on membership chaired by PRID Dr Manoj Desai at the Kolkata Centennial Summit.
In his opening remarks, PRID Panduranga Setty pointed out that while the growth rate was satisfactory in Asia, “it was a matter of concern in the rest of the world including N America. For a while we want to take the total membership of 1.2 million to the next level, but it never really happened.” Trustee Jennifer Jones said the Vision Statement 2025 has given the right emphasis on leadership roles in taking forward Rotary in the coming decades. “Embracing the Rotaract movement and Rotaractors is the right thing to do as they are fundamental to Rotary’s growth,” she said. Both the Vision Statement and Action Plan unveiled recently have focussed on four priority areas — expanding the reach, increasing engagement, more diversity and making membership affordable — which make Rotary an attractive organisation for less than 30-year-olds, who are more than half of the world’s 7.5 billion people, said Trustee Sang Koo Yun from Korea.
The young generation would affect the future of Rotary and “we need to look at them carefully as part of demographic study. Their passion will drive Rotary’s membership,” he said. Rtn Sarita Mclean from Australia and New Zealand region said declining membership was a big worry in her zones.
RIDE Katrina Kotsali from zones 21A and 21B (Central Asia and East Europe) said, “Peace initiatives of Rotary are critical to draw young people into its fold in our region.” Giving a different perspective, RIDN Vicki Puliz, RID 5190, US, said, “as our services are multifold, the youth look for leadership development, networking in Rotary as attractive elements.”
While service activities are important, giving opportunities for leadership development is also crucial for drawing the youth.
Past RI Director Manoj Desai
Desai summed up the session saying that district leaders must take efforts to understand their clubs’ needs. “While service activities are important, giving opportunities for leadership development is also crucial for drawing the youth,” he said. PDG Swapan Choudhury gave vote of thanks.