RI Preside nt Tanaka� s Rotary M oments in February, March, and April
- RI President Tanaka's Rotary Moments in February, March, and April
While I was preparing for a Major Donor dinner in Tampa Bay, Florida, on my birthday, which is 4 February, I thought about the past year. As people often do on their birthdays, I was reflecting about how quickly time passes and about my purpose in life of being useful to others — especially during my year as RI president when I feel I must do my best for Rotarians. I was remembering all the places I've traveled as a Rotarian and the interesting people I've met along the way.
For instance, during February, March, and April, I attended several 100th anniversary celebrations in places such as Birmingham, Alabama, and Indianapolis, Indiana, in the United States and Toronto and Vancouver in Canada. I'm fortunate to be the RI president during a time when there are so many centennial club celebrations. I enjoy celebrating these Rotary milestones, and I wish I could be at more. With the time I have as president, I try meeting as many Rotarians as many ways as I can, such as on Skype, which allows me to reach more people while saving Rotary money.
In late March, I visited District 3010 in Delhi, India, and participated in my first Holi celebration. It was an unforgettable experience and great fun to watch everyone throwing colored powder on each other. It seemed that the people who had the most colored powder on them were also the ones having the most fun.
Later, in Jaipur, India, I received an honorary degree of letters. When someone called "Dr. Tanaka," I was surprised they were speaking to me! I never dreamed that one day I'd receive such an honor. It was a very moving experience for me.
A visit to the Rotary Peace Center at Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA, also was important to me. It's an amazing Rotary-sponsored program that produces incredible peace scholars. I wish they could get more applicants to their program and more people knew about the work of their alumni.
Council on Legislation
I attended the Council on Legislation 22-26 April. Several people told me how cooperative the Council was and about the fellowship they felt. The Council leadership did a tremendous job and helped everything run smoothly. I heard several good discussions and numerous items were referred to the RI Board. This is a big responsibility to be placed on the board, which must review and act on each proposal referred to them. I hope the Council and all Rotarians are aware of the challenges faced by the Board in their careful consideration of each of these proposals.
Brazil, India, and Israel
I have visited so many unforgettable Rotary projects. While I was in Brazil, I went to a lab that trains doctors to perform microsurgeries, and, also in that country, I visited a deaf education center.
In Israel, some projects that stood out for me included a rain water harvesting project and a project called Save a Child's Heart, in which doctors at a hospital in Israel perform heart surgeries on Palestinian children. These are all noteworthy examples of how lifesaving work is being done by Rotary. And it shows how, through Rotary's humanitarian work, countries can promote peace.
Another project I visited was a medical mission in Udhampur, India, which provided medical and dental services. I visited so many worthy projects during my travels, and though I can't mention them all here, I haven't forgotten any of them.
I'm so impressed to see Rotarian involvement in these projects, which require dedication and a significant commitment of time. I know that there are many more impressive Rotarian projects that I haven't had the opportunity to see. All these projects together will help Rotary become stronger. The more I think of Rotary, the more amazed I am.
I'm proud to be a Rotarian and know that we are "This Close" to eradicating polio, and we've been dedicated to working on this historic goal since 1985. This is what makes Rotary great — the focus, tenacity, and persistence to reach such an important goal. The eradication of polio will be an achievement that will forever benefit the world's children. It will be a tremendous success for Rotary of which we all can be proud.
- Sakuji Tanaka, RI President