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December-January 2020 | Opinion

Tony Black – Rotary International Director’s Column

Tony Black – Rotary International Director’s Column

Rotary International Director, Tony Black discusses plans for the future as we head into 2021, and what the new year could hold for Rotary.

We will soon be in a new calendar year – 2021 – and all the challenges that may bring. No Christmas, Hogmanay or New Year and for many not even a chance to see family or friends, as has been the case with all other festivals. Can we even plan for the future till a vaccine becomes available?

With six months of our Rotary year to go, Rotarians are already planning for the future. The Rotary International Board of Directors is taking action to make Rotary more welcoming and diverse.

We have formed a task force to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion to help clubs attract new members regardless of gender, race, religion, age, or other factors.

With six months of our Rotary year to go, Rotarians are already planning for the future. The Rotary International Board of Directors is taking action to make Rotary more welcoming and diverse.”

This will help us speed up the change we all want and need.

The selection of Jennifer E. Jones as Rotary President for 2022-23, the first woman to lead our organisation, is another step in this direction. I look forward to a future where Rotary could have a massive input into many aspects of our lives whether that be locally or internationally.

Maybe environmental projects, whether that be planting trees, decreasing plastic usage and pollution. Maybe getting involved in helping young people understand/learn about and grow fruit/vegetables/flowers.

We just need to free our minds and find something in which we as individuals or as clubs/districts can get involved.

I look forward to a future where Rotary could have a massive input into many aspects of our lives whether that be locally or internationally.”

Polio vaccination programmes around the world are starting to build back up and if we get our momentum up to speed we still have the chance to free the world of the scourge of polio, but we cannot do this without the funds that Rotarians/clubs/districts contribute on a yearly basis.

How are you all coping with virtual meetings? I find they can be tiring especially if I have too many in a week or if they take far too long – one recently was 5 ½ hours.

We just need to learn how to adapt. Because of my background as a veterinary surgeon in general practice, I believed that the COVID-19 epidemic would not be over by Christmas, but would only happen when a vaccine becomes available, hopefully by the summer of 2021.

So, I planned my year accordingly. Spring and summer were spent between gardening – and Zoom meetings and occasionally reading novels.

For the next four to six weeks I will tackle all the put-off jobs in the house – and Zoom meetings. At least my carbon footprint will have been greatly reduced.

The strange part is that I am not missing the travelling, eating out or even going to the bar and sometimes wonder if I even want to go back to that.

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