July 2009

My fellow Rotarians:

It is traditional in Rotary that each Rotary International president is given the opportunity every month to write a message to all Rotarians in the pages of this magazine. I am grateful for this tradition, which gives me the opportunity to communicate with every one of you directly, for it is my firm belief that The Future of Rotary Is in Your Hands.

It is a great honor to have been chosen as the first RI president from Scotland in the 104 years of this organization, and to have the privilege of serving the Rotarians of the world. Because there is no RI – no Board of Directors or president, no world headquarters or Rotary convention – without the ordinary weekly meeting of Rotarians in our own home clubs.

In Rotary, everything we are, and everything we aspire to become, lies in the hands of Rotarians in their clubs. If our clubs are congenial and our meetings well run, if our service is carefully planned and competently carried out, if our members are qualified, honest, and respected in their vocations and communities, then all of Rotary will thrive. This is why I say The Future of Rotary Is in Your Hands.

Water, health and hunger, and literacy will be our emphases in the year ahead. In this Rotary year, I ask Rotarians everywhere to continue to learn from our experiences and to build upon our successes. I ask you all to continue to work for the health and well-being of not only children but their families and people everywhere. I ask you particularly to focus on water and sanitation, as the scarcity of clean water is an increasingly serious issue in many parts of the world.

In Scotland, we have a saying that I’m fond of quoting: “We must look beyond our own parish pump.” It means that we must look beyond our own home and our own community. We must be aware that ours is only one community, of one country, of the many communities and countries in this world.

In every one of those communities, there is work to be done. As Rotarians, we will not stand idly by. As Rotarians, we will accept our responsibility. We can, and we must. For we know that Rotary is only as great as its clubs – and our clubs are only as great as the members within them.

The Future of Rotary Is in Your Hands.

John Kenny
President, Rotary International