International Assembly 2020 San Diego USA


“Rotary Opens Opportunities” was the theme announced by incoming International President Holger Knaack for the 2020-21 Rotary Year. Present were over five hundred District Governors Elect from around the world. Combined with partners and the training teams, meant that there were nearly fifteen hundred people at the Hyatt Manchester Grande Hotel in San Diego. Overwhelmingly the “opens opportunities” theme was well received.

Discussion around the different ways of interpreting the theme was to be part of the training as District Governors Elect (DGE). So much was learnt from each other in the facilitated discussion groups. Parallel programs were run for DGE partners and, as Past President of the Rotary Club of Canberra, Helen felt very much at home in this Rotary learning environment.
A regret for me was that I had not done this training earlier in my career. So many of these lessons were applicable across many aspects of life. Although delivered in the context of Rotary, there was an emphasis on good government, managing people, understanding law, interpreting regulation and rules, financial management and strategic planning .
Another emphasis was on the importance of having fun in Rotary, building friendships and strengthening networks. Along with these was building new models of the way we do Rotary. Changes within clubs, different styles of clubs and being innovative were key messages considered by DGEs. Additionally, Holger Knaack was keen to ensure that clubs would have at least one strategic planning meeting in his year as President and would take special care in selecting new members and looking after them.
In the context of “opening opportunities” one of the greatest opportunities for Rotary is to complete our decades old campaign to End Polio. Rotary deserves the credit and should be letting our communities, and people further afield, know about our successes. We should also let them know how much we have appreciated the more recent support of the Gates Foundation, GAVI (The Vaccine Alliance) and the World Health Organization. However, it has been a Rotary initiative. It’s why we raise funds at BBQ’s or other events.
In a nutshell, the message is that having fun, doing good work and appreciating the local, district, national and international fellowship are just some of the opportunities open to Rotarians.