R. Gordon R. McInally wants Rotary members to create hope in the world

R. Gordon R. McInally wants Rotary members to create hope in the world
R. Gordon R. McInally wants Rotary members to create hope in the world

RI President-elect announces theme for 2023/2024

Rotary International President-elect R. Gordon R. McInally calls on members to capture the public’s attention and lead the way to possibilities beyond our expectations.

Mr. McInally, a member of the Rotary Club of South Queensferry (Scotland), unveiled the 2023/2024 presidential theme, “Let’s create hope in the world”, during the organization’s International Assembly in Orlando on January 9. He calls on members to promote peace in countries facing turmoil, assist those affected by conflict, and maintain the momentum of initiatives launched by previous leaders.

“The goal is to restore hope — to help the world recover from destructive conflict and help us achieve lasting change in ourselves,” he said at Rotary’s annual training for elected governors.

Mr. McInally spoke of a woman he met in Ban Taling Chan, Thailand, where Rotary members helped build homes, a meeting hall, and care and childcare facilities at the following the tsunami that devastated South Asia at the end of 2004. This woman had lost her husband, her daughter and her son as well as her means of subsistence, but she still wanted to give him a present: a beautiful shell.

“She added that Rotary… had restored her optimism. We gave him hope,” he says.

“This is how Rotary brings lasting change in the world, a restored or newly created hope,” he continued.

promote peace

According to Mr. McInally, to create hope in the world it is important to put more emphasis on peace. He cited actions taken by Rotary members over the past year to support the people of Ukraine after the Russian invasion. Rotary has made humanitarian aid a priority, attracting more members from Ukraine in the process. But he also noted that real relief will not come without peace — not just in Ukraine, but in Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria and dozens of other countries around the world.

“Peace is the soil where hope takes root,” he says.

Mr. McInally also stressed the power of continuity, calling on Rotary members to continue the work of some past leaders. He is thus committed to preserving the Girls’ Empowerment initiative launched in 2020/2021 by President Shekhar Mehta and to maintaining the focus on diversity, equity and inclusion throughout Rotary. He also mentioned recent events that justify the continuation of Rotary’s efforts against polio. Cases of polio have indeed emerged in many parts of the world in the past year, making the work of Rotary members more important than ever.

To do this, McInally said Rotary must continue to raise at least $50 million a year to be tripled by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Currently, only one in 12 members funds the polio eradication campaign, and less than one in five clubs donate annually.

Mr. McInally called on governors-elect to get their clubs to re-recognize the urgency of realizing Rotary’s vision of a polio-free world. “Now is the time to go beyond what we do year after year, and ensure that we provide all the resources necessary to achieve success as quickly as possible,” he added.

Focus on mental health

McInally said Rotary members should create hope for those affected by mental health issues — a crisis exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have lost family members, others have seen their social ties wither, and young people in particular have experienced the interruption of their educational and developmental pathways. As a result, more and more people around the world are now dealing with mental health issues. Yet asking for help is often seen as a sign of weakness.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said. Reaching out to others for help is brave — and continuing on the path to wellness is even braver. »

He also added that Rotary will work to improve mental health services next year and in the years to come. For him, Rotary should be known as an organization that takes care of its members as well as its beneficiaries: “Any mental health professional will tell you that by helping others, we help ourselves. »

Mr. McInally concluded his speech by describing his ideal balance between continuity and innovation. “Rotary helps create the conditions for peace, opportunity and a future worth living,” he said. By continuing to do what we do best, remaining open and willing to change, and continuing to focus on building peace in the world and within ourselves, Rotary helps create a more peaceful world — a hopeful world. »

The article is in French

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