RI President Tanaka’s Rotary moments in December and January

By Sakuji Tanaka, in English and Japanese

As I traveled in 2012 to Rotary clubs and projects, I saw the joy of being a Rotarian. I noticed that the deeper your involvement with Rotary, the more you can grow as a person. Furthermore, I believe that Rotary can mean something different to each Rotarian, and it’s a part of our journey to discover that meaning. My wish for 2013 is that Rotarians discover what this organization means to them, and then share it with others. These personal experiences are our Rotary moments. Here were some of my Rotary moments from the past few months.


At the end of November and early December, I went to the Berlin Rotary Global Peace Forum in Germany. Past RI President Luis Giay and I were impressed with the hard work the German Rotarians put into this sold-out event. We offer them our sincere thanks. If the next two peace forums – which are in Honolulu and Hiroshima — are anything like the one in Berlin, they too should be very successful. I’m looking forward to the Honolulu peace forum at the end of January.

In early December, my wife, Kyoko, and I went to Rome where we were honored to have an audience with a man of peace, Pope Benedict XVI. I presented him with a gift on behalf of Rotary International as well as stayed to hear him give a speech, which was translated into seven languages to a large crowd.


In Geneva, Switzerland, Dr. Margaret Chan, the director-general of the World Health Organization, asked me to thank Rotarians for our work in eradicating polio. I too thanked her for the support Rotary has received over the years from WHO in our shared mission to end polio. WHO, along with UNICEF, CDC, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are our polio eradication partners.

Then in Tokyo, I met with current and former representatives of Congress to personally thank them for their support of Rotary International and of their support of Rotary’s polio eradication efforts.

Celebrating and promoting Rotary

Celebrations in Rotary are important. They let people know that Rotary is a part of their community, and it helps us to rejoice in our work and our milestones. I had the privilege recently of attending the 60th anniversary of the Rotary Club of Osaka North in Japan as well being in the Rose Parade in California. Both were important events.

In the Rose Parade on 1 January, I rode the Rotary float with Rotary Vice President Ken Schuppert. It was hard work waving to the many thousands of spectators at the parade, but I enjoyed their boisterous cheers! This was the biggest parade I have been in, and I also got to attend my first American football game. It’s much better to see it in person than to watch it on TV.

Also in early January, I went to the Rotary Club of Abbotsford, in British Columbia, Canada – via Skype! I think it’s important to meet as many Rotarians from around the world that I can, in what ever way is available.

Rotary moments come in many shapes and sizes, but each one is unforgettable. I wish you a joyous 2013 filled with many Rotary moments.

Read more about RI President Tanaka and watch a profile.















Source: Rotary Voices

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