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August-September 2020 | Regulars

Holger Knaack – Rotary International President’s Column

Holger Knaack – Rotary International President’s Column

New Rotary International President, Holger Knaack talks about the changes Rotary has gone through during the pandemic, and what changes may be to come.

The year 2020 has brought monumental changes that have already included a global pandemic and a renewed call for social justice. We are reminded that we live in a constantly changing world, and Rotary is a reflection of that world.

We must be ready to listen and adapt, always drawing upon our core values of service, fellowship, diversity, integrity, and leadership. If we live these values and apply The Four-Way Test to all aspects of our lives, we will be prepared to lead at all times.

I am proud of how we have proven our ability to adapt. Faced with a pandemic, Rotary has not stopped. We moved meetings online and found new ways to serve. We turned the cancelled 2020 Rotary International Convention in Honolulu into our first virtual convention.

Each week, we are proving that Rotary is a flexible gathering that happens anywhere — in traditional meetings, on cellphones, and on computers. Rotary offers a way to connect for everyone who wants to, at any time, and will continue to do so.

I am proud of how we have proven our ability to adapt. Faced with a pandemic, Rotary has not stopped.”

Some have even told me that they enjoy Rotary’s mix of online and in-person meetings more now than before! How can we build on this momentum and seize the opportunity to embrace change so that Rotary keeps thriving?

We all agree that we need to grow Rotary, but sometimes we can get caught up in the numbers game and lose sight of the bigger picture. After all, an increase in membership is meaningless if next year, those new members leave our clubs.

Let’s grow Rotary sustainably. Rotary’s flexible options for participation will engage members and show the community how we’re different from any other club. Let’s celebrate that Rotary is now less about rules and more about joining together in a variety of ways besides traditional meetings.

As Rotary’s founder, Paul Harris, said, we have to be revolutionary from time to time. Now is such a time. Rotary Opens Opportunities — countless ones — for us to embrace change that will strengthen us even as we remain true to our core values.

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