We just finished a week at Rotary’s International Assembly in San Diego. The event was one of the last steps in the journey towards a year of being District Governor starting July 1, 2012. All 530 District Governors Elect attended for a week of intense training, idea sharing and education. It was a week of little sleep and long days for DGE’s and spouses. There were many highlights. One was finding out Rotary’s commitment to raise 200 million dollars by June 30, 2012 to help in the fight to eradicate polio was met – last week! The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation challenged Rotarians to raise that 200 million when they contributed 355 million towards Rotary’s efforts to end polio. The CEO of the Gates Foundation was there and was so pleased with this news – announced the contribution of another $50 million to Rotary’s efforts. We still have a way to go – but we are down to THREE endemic countries – India being declared polio free for one year now just 2 weeks ago.
Another highlight was meeting DG’s from around the world – all going through the same journey. I was especially pleased to meet Mr. Hiroshi Ito, DGE for District 2530. This is the District that hosted Karly when she was in Japan, and of course suffered from the earthquake. We thanked them for taking such care of Karly after that. We often think of the Japanese as life is far from normal for them to this day.
We had many great sessions about the Rotary Foundation, holding effective meetings, motivating volunteers and so much more. It was a powerful, dynamic week. While it was a lot of fun at times – it is something Rotary International takes very serious. During the plenary events 12 or 15 hundred people would attend. For us DGE’s and spouses our name was on the seat. During every plenary the Sergeant At Arms came by and noted if there were any empty seats. They have invested a lot of the event and us, we had to attend!
We heard many motivational speeches. I really enjoyed meeting and hearing from 2012 2013 RI President Sakuji Tanaka. I also love his slogan. Every year the new President has a new slogan to go with his area of focus…. For 12/13 the slogan is “Peace Through Service”. A slogan that works so well in so many ways.
It was a heck of a long, gruelling week.. but a week that is made easier when it’s something you are passionate about. Rotary is many things to many people. Service, fellowship, fun, community involvement, international work, leadership skills development, business networking and more.
Jan and I are looking forward to a year of serving the 2400 members in District 5370.