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Distrikt 1880/Distrikt 1950

Ihr macht einen tollen Job

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Nachrichtenbild Lobende Worte von K. R. Ravindran für die Projekte der Clubs – Rund 500 begeisterte Rotarier/innen begrüßten ihn bei den verschiedenen Veranstaltungen in Nürnberg und Erlangen – Volles Besuchsprogramm in nur zwei Tagen

K. R. Ravindran wurde begleitet von seiner Gattin Vanathy



Trotz Übermüdung, Jetlag und eines vollgepackten Zeitplans blieb er stets freundlich, interessiert und allen Fragen gegenüber aufgeschlossen: K. R. Ravindran, amtierender RI Präsident und –laut Nürnbergs OB Ulrich Maly – der „Papst der Rotarier“ - genoss den Kontakt und die Gespräche mit den Clubs des Distrikts 1880 und 1950 sichtlich. „Wenn ich mit Rotariern zusammen bin“ so Ravindran, „ egal wo immer auf der Welt, dann bin ich unter Freunden und fühle mich zuhause“.

Rund 500 Rotarier/innen nutzen denn auch die Gelegenheit, dem Präsidenten ihre Projekte vorzustellen, beim Galaabend auf der Kaiserburg oder dem Intercity-Meeting in Nürnberg mit ihm ein paar Worte zu wechseln und in seiner Nähe internationale rotarische „Luft zu schnuppern“.

Zwischen dem internen Treffen mit den Clubpräsidenten, von Ravindran  kommentiert mit den Worten „Ich bin begeistert, Ihr macht einen tollen Job“, diversen Grußworten und Ansprachen, dem Eintrag ins Goldene Buch der Stadt Nürnberg und dem der Friedrich-Alexander-Universität sowie Firmenführungen und –besuchen, nahm sich Ravindran, der von seiner Gattin Vanathy begleitet wurde, stets Zeit für persönliche Gespräche mit den rotarischen Freunden und Freundinnen.

Einer der Höhepunkte seines Besuches war die Ansprache anlässlich des Intercity-Meetings im Germanischen Nationalmuseum in Nürnberg, wo er besonders auf die aktuelle Situation von Rotary International einging und daran erinnerte, dass ohne Bereitschaft zu Veränderungen keine gelebte Gemeinschaft bestehen kann.

Auszüge der Rede finden Sie im Anhang. Mehr Bilder zum Besuch des Weltpräsidenten folgen in Kürze.

Bianca Bauer-Stadler



Auszüge der Rede von K.R. Ravindran beim Intercity - Meeting am 22. Februar 2016


… Rotary is many things to many people. And I am fortunate to belong to the small group of Rotarians who have truly seen the power Rotary wields to do good.

To build a world that is a bit safer, a bit happier. A world with better health, and perhaps, a bit more hope.

A world that will soon be forever free of polio.

We had only 73 cases of wild polio in all of last year, in only two countries. The number of cases so far this year is one.

We are not talking of years now, but perhaps only months.

Most of us, I think, see the end of polio as the end point of our efforts. We think of the children we will save, the fear that will be lifted. We focus only on polio, and what it will mean to live without it.

But how many Rotarians know, that because of this work, we will see some fifty billion US dollars returned to the global health budget over thirty years—because of the cost savings eradication will bring?

Fifty billion dollars that will become available, to fight malaria, AIDS, TB, cancer—because we lifted the burden, of polio.

How many Rotarians know the impact we had, on the Ebola crisis last summer? For one of the most terrifying scenarios to be modeled, was one in which the virus reached Nigeria. Because Nigeria is a trade hub for all of Africa, with a dense population, poor sanitation, and very high mobility. I remember one public health official in Africa saying, “The one thing nobody wants to hear, are the words ‘Ebola’ and ‘Lagos’ in the same sentence.” Well, Ebola did reach Lagos, on a flight from Liberia. But it spread no further—because of the resources that were already in place, there in Nigeria, to fight polio.
 
The emergency operations centers, the disease surveillance officers, the lines of communications between local and international health authorities, the capacity for real-time data analysis and modeling: all of this was ready and waiting, when it was needed most. Because of this infrastructure—established and funded in large part by us—Ebola was stopped.

These are the things that Rotary can achieve.

This is the power of Rotary. This is what Rotary does, what we have come to Rotary to do.

And once we have come to Rotary—once we have seen what it is that Rotary can achieve—then I think it is only natural that we become more ambitious. And we look for ways to break down the obstacles before us: those placed in our path by chance and circumstance, and those that we sometimes unwittingly place before ourselves.

Paul Harris once wrote, in words that have become famous over time, “It is well that there is nothing in Rotary so sacred that it cannot be set aside in favor of things better.”

In Rotary, our traditions belong to us: but we do not belong to them.

And so Rotary has changed, evolved, responded over the years, to a changing landscape. But I think there has been no change that has been as significant, and as overwhelmingly positive, as the decision that was taken by the 1989 Council on Legislation to admit women into Rotary.

This has been made so abundantly clear to me, here in Germany where I have seen female Rotarians making such incredible contributions to Rotary. Last night I had the privilege to honor donors to the maternity hospital that was rebuilt some years ago in my home country of Sri Lanka. It was destroyed by the tsunami in 2004, had sat in a mess of mold and rotting walls for years, until your own Kerstin Jeska-Thorwart stepped forward, to begin the work of rebuilding it.

Today, there is a first-rate maternity hospital in the south of Sri Lanka. It is the only public hospital in a region of six million people. It has brought 160,000 infants into the world to date—many of whom would have died, if it were not for the care that they received there. It is staggering to think about, how many families there are, in the south of my country, who are whole today—who have their children in their arms, in their lives—families that would have been forever broken, had it not been for one Rotarian—one woman in Rotary—who saw this need, recognized it as critical, and stepped forward to meet it.

It really gives one pause, to think what we might have lost in Rotary—had we not decided twenty-seven years ago that it was well past time to admit women.

There is no question that our organization today would be both smaller, and poorer. And there is no question, that countless lives that have been saved by Rotary—would have been lost.

In 1995, only five of every 100 Rotarians were women: today, that number has risen to twenty. It is progress, but it is not enough.

We have had women in Rotary for only the last quarter of our history, and it is no coincidence that those years have been by far our most productive.

Because in order to fully represent our communities, we must truly reflect our communities.

And it is just common sense to say that if we want all of our communities to reach their full potential, economically, socially, and educationally: we can’t exclude half of the world’s population from representing them in Rotary.

Yet nearly one-fifth of our clubs today continue to exclude women. In some districts, even in modern, developed countries such as this one, the proportion of clubs without women is as high as one-half!

Let me tell you, if you want to live like you are in some Jurassic Park era, you should take a moment to remember what happened to the dinosaurs.

A club that shuts out women shuts out much more than half the talent, half the ability, and half the connections it should have. It closes out the perspectives that are essential to serving families and communities effectively. It damages not only its own service, but our entire organization, by reinforcing the stereotypes that limit us the most. It makes our partners take us less seriously. And it makes all of Rotary less attractive to potential members, especially the younger people who are so crucial to our future. 

To perpetuate discrimination against women in Rotary is to doom our entire organization to irrelevance. We cannot pretend that we still live in Paul Harris’s time, nor would he ever want us to. For, as he said, “The story of Rotary will have to be written again and again.”

My friends, that story lies open before you. The pen is poised over the page. What will it write?

Will it write of generous deeds, of ambition, of responsibility; of work well done, and a life well lived?

Or will it write of days that follow after days, each one alike, unremarkable —
in their coming, hardly noticed; in their passing, hardly missed?

Remember that every moment of our lives—every page, that we are given to write—is a gift.

And each one, is a choice.

A choice, as Martin Luther King put it: whether to walk in the light of creative altruism, or the darkness of destructive selfishness.

To be selfish—or to be selfless.

To live for ourselves alone—or to live, for others.

Rotary gives us that choice.

It gives us the choice, as it gives us the chance: to Be A Gift to the World.

Thank you.


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