By Rotary International President Holger Knaack
For many years in Rotary, we have talked about the importance of Rotaract and how young people have the potential to reshape our organization. Thankfully, in the last few years we have gone beyond talk and have moved into a time of action.
This has coincided with the world experiencing dramatic change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our traditional connections and ways of meeting have been disrupted. We have all had to learn how to operate fully in the digital world — the same world that Rotaractors inhabit regularly and naturally.
What we are discovering is that Rotaractors are tremendous leaders. This is something I’ve known for quite some time. When it was my turn to host an Institute as a district governor, I turned the entire planning project over to Rotaractors. Not only did they not let me down, they continually delighted me with their ambition and vision.
This is why, for my Presidential Conferences in 2020-21, I will showcase the leadership abilities of Rotaractors around the world and give all Rotarians an opportunity to see, first hand, just what they are capable of accomplishing.
The COVID-19 epidemic has made clear that we are living in a different world, a world dominated by young people with the foresight and drive to take advantage of rapid change and move on from the old ways of doing things. Our Presidential conferences will be somewhat like World’s Fairs for Rotary, a vision of our future, with new club models, new ways for members to connect across space and time, and a new vision for a truly diverse organization that builds lasting friendships across generations.
I invite you to join us at three events that will be held virtually — and to the extent possible — in person. I invite you to learn more about our three virtual events that will be held 15-16 January in Brazil, 22-24 January in Nigeria, and 14-16 May in the United States.
No matter what your age or experience in Rotary, our conferences are designed to enlighten and surprise you. I look forward to exploring Rotary’s future with you.