Home' Rotary Down Under : May2015(NZ-Pacific) Contents EDITOR’S MAILBOX
| 10 | ISSUE 572 MAY 2015
Respect for the
public face of Rotary
I recall a year or so back that Rotary
International was going to promote
itself to help encourage interested
people and show that our service club
was something worthy of joining.
I do recall seeing on our regional
television one or two Rotary adverts,
but nothing like our sister club Lions in
its promotion of the organisation.
We read this magazine and all the
articles Rotary produces on the web,
but it is promoting membership and
projects to ourselves, not to people we
want to attract as members to assist in
our good works.
Similarly, we are proud of Rotary’s
achievements throughout the world
based on the six Areas of Focus and
our End Polio Now program. Again,
we see humanitarian organisations
advertising what they do and
requesting donations to continue
that great work. Why aren’t we also
doing the same thing? Spending
some money to buy advertising space
telling the world what we do for the
more unfortunate people of this world
and asking them to donate to OUR
FOUNDATION, so we can expand our
humanitarian work. We can also boast
on how little of funds donated are used
Rotary has great stories of
achievements: we are in locations
of natural disaster before most
Government agencies with our
ShelterBox/Disaster Aid/Aquabox, we
assist with Australian Rotary Health
research, Interplast, wheel chairs for
kids and spend time in Timor Leste and
other third world countries building
schools and water infrastructure, but,
unfortunately, we only tell ourselves.
Please President Gary, let us be
proactive and increase promotion
of Rotary International to the
Rotarian Clive Walker D9790
Rotary is a wonderful organisation, but there are times when
the behaviour of individual Rotarians makes me cringe.
The Rotary Institute in Wellington was graced with the
presence of our president elect Ravi Ravindran and Vanathy. Ravi
gave a number of inspirational speeches and went out of his
way to meet as many Aussie and Kiwi Rotarians as possible. He
was accorded a standing ovation after his closing remarks, and
as I told him later, that is not as common Down Under as it is in
My wife and I were on the same plane as Ravi and Vanathy
from Wellington to Melbourne after the Institute, business
class, which I purchased for Juliet and me (at no cost to Rotary),
to ensure our president elect had no difficulties with his
After Ravi settled into his business class seat, someone not
known to me walking down the aisle stopped and said to our
president elect that he should reflect on the Four Way Test
when he is sitting at the front of the plane, because it isn’t fair
to all concerned.
Ravi politely ignored him, and he disappeared down the aisle.
I couldn’t find him at the end of the flight to discuss the matter.
Allow me to provide some facts. Rotary International has
a travel policy to which all staff and Rotarians adhere. The
president elect is entitled to business class travel because of his
hectic schedule and the distance he travels continuously.
On this visit to Melbourne, he worked on speeches all the
way from Wellington, arriving on Sunday evening, met with
Rotarians to discuss projects on Monday, spoke at a Rotary
Foundation dinner on Monday night, left the hotel at 5am
Tuesday to fly to Canberra (economy class) to meet the Prime
Minister, and flew back to Melbourne that afternoon in time to
catch the flight to the Chennai Institute that night. He gave an
interview to ABC radio on my telephone as we moved between
terminals in Melbourne.
This level of activity for Ravi and Vanathy is constant. Our
president elect is incredibly busy and needs whatever assistance
he can get to ensure he presents at his best, because he is the
public face of Rotary. A comfortable seat is the least we
On behalf of Australian Rotarians I apologised to Ravi, who
took the whole incident in his stride. To whoever that Rotarian
was who insulted Ravi, I say he should be ashamed of himself.
Rotary Foundation Trustee
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