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August-September 2021 | Opinion

Shekhar Mehta – Rotary International President’s Column

Shekhar Mehta – Rotary International President’s Column

Rotary International President, Shekhar Mehta discusses ways to increase Rotary membership with his new initiative Each One, Bring One.

Greetings, my dear changemakers.

As we focus on membership in Rotary this month, I ask you to help make history this year. For more than 20 years, our membership has stood at 1.2 million. Rotary is a vibrant organisation with a 116-year history, members in more than 220 countries and geographic areas, and a rich legacy of work in polio eradication and other humanitarian programmes. Rotary has changed so much in our own lives and the lives of others. As we Serve to Change Lives, don’t you think Rotary could have an even greater impact on the world if more people were practising Service Above Self? 

My vision is to increase Rotary membership to 1.3 million by July 2022, and the call to action is simple: Each One, Bring One. This year, I want every Rotarian and Rotaractor to introduce a new person into their club. 


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We are a membership organisation, and members are our greatest asset. You are the ones who contribute so generously to The Rotary Foundation. You are the ones who dream big to bring good into the world through meaningful projects. And of course, you are the ones who have put the world on the brink of eradicating polio.

Every club should celebrate its new members, and every Rotarian who sponsors a member will be personally recognised by me.”

As we make membership a priority this year, let us focus on diversity by reaching out to younger people and especially to women. Every club should celebrate its new members, and every Rotarian who sponsors a member will be personally recognised by me. And those who are successful in bringing in 25 or more members will be part of our new Membership Society. 

Even as we share the gift of Rotary with others, let us be sure to engage these new members, because an engaged Rotarian is an asset forever. And remember that engaging our current members and keeping them in our clubs is just as important as bringing in newcomers. Let us also be ready to form new clubs, especially flexible ones. I am very bullish on clubs that hold virtual or hybrid meetings, and satellite clubs and cause-based clubs can also be very effective ways of growing Rotary. 

Each of you is a Rotary brand ambassador, and all of the wonderful work done by Rotarians around the world needs to be shared outside the Rotary community”

As you grow more, you will be able to do more. Let us keep empowering girls through our work in each of the areas of focus. Scholarships for girls, toilets in schools, health and hygiene education — there is so much we can do. Projects focused on the environment are also attracting interest the world over. Do participate in these projects locally and internationally to make this world a better place for us and for all species. 

Each of you is a Rotary brand ambassador, and all of the wonderful work done by Rotarians around the world needs to be shared outside the Rotary community. Use social media to tell your friends, colleagues, and relatives the stories of Service Above Self. 

Finally, I’m challenging every club, during the coming year, to plan at least one Rotary Day of Service that will bring together volunteers from inside and outside Rotary and will celebrate and showcase the work of your club in your community. Visit rotary.org to find out more about all of these initiatives, along with other ways to Serve to Change Lives.

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