RI's General Secretary The Rotary Foundation's Beginning
Selecting A President Ambassadorial Scholarships
Annual Rotary Themes Group Study Exchange
RI's GENERAL SECRETARY
The day-to-day operations of Rotary International's Secretariat are under the supervision of the general secretary, the top professional officer of Rotary. Although the general secretary is responsible to the RI Board of Directors and president, he provides the ongoing management for nearly 500 staff members who compose the Secretariat of Rotary International.
The general secretary serves as secretary to the RI board, and is also the chief executive and financial officer of The Rotary Foundation, under the supervision of the trustees of the Foundation. He is the secretary of all Rotary committees as well as the Council on Legislation, regional conferences and the annual Rotary convention
The general secretary is appointed by the RI board for a term of not more than five years and is usually reelected. Since 1910, seven men have served in that position. Chesley Perry, the original general secretary, served from 1910 to 1942. Others who followed were Phil Lovejoy (1942-52), George Means (1953-72), Harry Stewart (1972-78), Herb Pigman (1979-86), Philip Lindsey (1986-90), and Spencer Robinson, Jr. (1990-93). The current general secretary, Herb Pigman, was reelected to the position in 1993.
Throughout the history of Rotary, the personal influence and administrative skills of our general secretaries have significantly shaped the course of Rotary programs and activities.
SELECTING A PRESIDENT
Each year a distinguished Rotarian is selected as the worldwide president of Rotary International. The process begins two years in advance when a 15-man nominating committee is elected from separate regions of the world. To qualify for the nominating committee, a Rotarian must have served on the RI Board of Directors and have extensive Rotary experience and substantial acquaintanceship with the world leaders of Rotary.
The nominating committee may consider all former RI directors for the presidential candidate. Members of the nominating committee and current directors are not eligible. Any Rotary club may suggest the name of a former RI director to the committee for consideration.
The committee convenes in September to select the Rotarian to be the presidential nominee. His name is announced to all clubs. Any Rotary club may make an additional nomination before December 1, which must then be endorsed by one percent of all the Rotary clubs of the world (about 250). If such an event occurs, an election is held by mail ballot. If no additional nomination is presented by the clubs, the man selected by the nominating committee is declared to be the president- nominee. From that point on, that special Rotarian and his wife will spend more than a year in preparation and then a year serving the Rotarians of the world as the international president.
In 1955, RI President A.Z. Baker announced a theme, "Develop Our Resources," to serve as Rotary's program of emphasis. Since that time, each president has issued a theme for his Rotary year. The shortest theme was in 1961-62 when Joseph Abey selected "Act." Other one-word themes were chosen in 1958-59 by Charles Tennent ("Serve") and 1968-69 by Kiyoshi Togasaki ("Participate").
Carl Miller, in 1963-64, had a theme for the times when he proposed "Guidelines for Rotary in the Space Age." Other "timely" themes were in 1980-81 when Rolf Klärich created "Take Time to Serve" and William Carter in 1973-74 used "Time for Action." Two themes have a similarity to commercial advertising: "A Better World Through Rotary" (Richard Evans, 1966-67) and "Reach Out" (Clem Renouf, 1978- 79). Bridges have been a striking metaphor. Harold Thomas, 1959-60, urged Rotarians to "Build Bridges of Friendship"; William Walk, 1970- 71, created "Bridge the Gap"; and Hiroji Mukasa, 1982-83, declared "Mankind is One-Build Bridges of Friendship Throughout the World."
A worldwide focus was given by Stan McCaffrey in 1981-82 with the message, "World Understanding and Peace Through Rotary," and again in 1984-85 by Carlos Canseco who urged Rotarians to "Discover a New World of Service." In other years, the individual was emphasized, as "You Are Rotary" (Edd McLaughlin, 1960-61), "Goodwill Begins With You" (Ernst Breitholtz, 1971-72) and "You Are the Key" (Ed Cadman, 1985- 86). Frequently the theme urges Rotarians to become more involved in their club, such as "Share Rotary-Serve People" (Bill Skelton, 1983- 84) or "Make Your Rotary Membership Effective" (Luther Hodges, 1967- 68). But whether you "Review and Renew," "Take a New Look," "Let Service Light the Way" or "Dignify the Human Being," it is clear that the RI president provides Rotarians with an important annual program of emphasis. In 1986-87, President M.A.T. Caparas selected the inspiring message that "Rotary Brings Hope."
Charles Keller in 1987-88 saw "Rotarians-United in Service, Dedicated to Peace," while Royce Abbey asked his fellow members in 1988-89 to "Put Life into Rotary-Your Life." Hugh Archer (1989-90) urged us to "Enjoy Rotary!" and Paulo Costa (1990-91) asked that we "Honor Rotary with Faith and Enthusiasm." My predecessor Raja Saboo (1991-92) exhorted every Rotarian to "Look Beyond Yourself." In 1992- 93, I reminded Rotarians, "Real Happiness Is Helping Others," and in 1993-94, Bob Barth counseled Rotarians, "Believe In What You Do and Do What You Believe In." In 1994-95, Bill Huntley encouraged Rotarians to "Be A Friend" to their communities.
One of the interesting bylaws of Rotary International provides that "no Rotarian shall campaign, canvass or electioneer for elective position in Rotary International." This provision includes the office of district governor, Rotary International director, RI president and various elected committees. The Rotary policy prohibits the circulation of brochures, literature or letters by a candidate or by anyone on behalf of such a candidate.
After a Rotarian has indicated his intention to be a candidate for one of the elective Rotary offices, he must refrain from speaking engagements, appearances or publicity which could reasonably be construed as furthering his candidacy. The only information which may be sent to clubs relating to candidates for an elective position is that officially distributed by the general secretary of RI.
A Rotarian who becomes a candidate for an elective position, such as district governor or RI director, must avoid any action which would be interpreted as giving him an unfair advantage over other candidates. Failure to comply with these provisions prohibiting campaigning could result in the disqualification of the candidate.
In Rotary it is believed that a Rotarian's record of service and qualifications for office stand on their own and do not require publicity or special promotion.
Some magnificent projects grow from very small seeds. The Rotary Foundation had that sort of modest beginning.
In 1917 RI President Arch Klumph told the delegates to the Atlanta Convention that "it seems eminently proper that we should accept endowments for the purpose of doing good in the world." The response was polite and favorable, but the fund was slow to materialize. A year later the "Rotary Endowment Fund," as it was first labeled, received its first contribution of $26.50 from the Rotary Club of Kansas City, which was the balance of the Kansas City Convention account following the 1918 annual meeting. Additional small amounts were annually contributed, but after six years it is reported that the endowment fund had only reached $700. A decade later, The Rotary Foundation was formally established at the 1928 Minneapolis Convention. In the next four years the Foundation fund grew to $50,000. In 1937 a $2 million goal was announced for The Rotary Foundation, but these plans were cut short and abandoned with the outbreak of World War II.
In 1947, upon the death of Paul Harris, a new era opened for The Rotary Foundation as memorial gifts poured in to honor the founder of Rotary. From that time, The Rotary Foundation has been achieving its noble objective of furthering "understanding and friendly relations between peoples of different nations." By 1954 the Foundation received for the first time a half million dollars in contributions in a single year, and in 1965 a million dollars was received.
It is staggering to imagine that from those humble beginnings, The Rotary Foundation is now receiving more than $45 million each year for educational and humanitarian work around the world.
The Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarships Program is the world's largest privately funded international scholarships program. In 1947, 18 "Rotary Fellows" from 11 countries were selected to serve as ambassadors of goodwill while studying in another country for one academic year. Since that time, approximately $242 million has been expended on some 25,000 scholarships for people from more than 125 countries, studying in 105 countries around the world.
The purpose of the Scholarships Program is to further international understanding and friendly relations among people of different countries. Scholars are expected to be outstanding ambassadors of goodwill to the people of the host country through both informal and formal appearances before Rotary and non-Rotary groups.
Beginning with the 1994-95 program year, The Rotary Foundation offers two new types of scholarships in addition to the Academic-Year Ambassadorial Scholarship offered since 1947. The Multi-Year Ambassadorial Scholarship is awarded for two or three years of specific degree-oriented study abroad. The Cultural Ambassadorial Scholarship provides three or six months of funding for intensive language study and cultural immersion in a language other than their native language.
Rotarians know that Rotary Foundation scholarships are very worthwhile investments in the future and one important step in seeking greater understanding and goodwill in the world.
One of the most popular and rewarding programs of The Rotary Foundation is the Group Study Exchange. Since the first exchange between districts in California and Japan in 1965, the program has provided educational experiences for about 25,000 business and professional men and women who have served on about 5,500 teams. The GSE program pairs Rotary districts to send and receive study teams. Since 1965, more than $42 million has been allocated by The Rotary Foundation for Group Study Exchange grants.
One of the attractive features of GSE is the opportunity for the visiting team members to meet, talk and live with Rotarians and their families in a warm spirit of friendship and hospitality. Although the original Group Study Exchanges were male only, in recent years teams include both men and women.
In addition to learning about another country as the team visits farms, schools, industrial plants, professional offices and governmental establishments, the GSE teams serve as ambassadors of goodwill. They interpret their home nation to host Rotarians and others in the communities in which they visit. Many of the personal contacts blossom into lasting friendships.
Truly, the Group Study Exchange program has provided Rotarians with one of its most enjoyable, practical and meaningful ways to promote world understanding.