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June-July 2021 | Opinion

Tony Black – Rotary International Director’s Column

Tony Black – Rotary International Director’s Column

Rotary International Director, Tony Black, reflects on his two years of service and looks towards Rotary’s future.

On June 30th, it will be two years since I became your Rotary International Director and what a two years, with everything starting well and as I expected.

My wife Elspeth and I attended the 2020 International Assembly in January in San Diego where we were part of the partner training programme. It was great to see all the smiling faces filled with hope and anticipation for the future. I then went on to a very chilly and windy Chicago for a Board meeting.

Elspeth and I were then aides to RI President Mark Maloney and his wife Gay while they attended the Commonwealth Conference in London. Our trip was very well organised by Rotarian Judith Diment.

Literacy is a big wide topic and I’ll leave it to others to write on this subject. I cringe every time I get an email from the editor asking for 350 words for the magazine and being dyslexic – I only found out about 25 years ago – I struggle to put on paper two sentences when I think one will do.

Without books of any sort over the last year, life would have been unbearable. I used to find it hard at school and university – I might have been able to verbally communicate and even do well on the practical side, but writing something was just so difficult.

I can’t imagine how our young people have been coping over the last year with their schoolwork. Contact and learning, to me, go hand in hand.

I have been asked many times where Rotary is going, and I honestly don’t know. I believe there is a great future for Rotary and much work for us to do, but what, when and how really does depend on this pandemic and when we can safely get out. We will be called on by many to help in whatever way we can and as Rotarians we will rise to that challenge.

Since this pandemic started, we have connected the world in ways none of us would have thought possible and we have opened up many opportunities that we are still trying to comprehend, or work with.  We are a service organisation and as the world opens up it is now our time to Serve and Change Lives, not only for others but also for ourselves.

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