District Governor 2000-2001

My Dear Action Presidents and Rotary Leaders,

The cover story this month talks about the Rotary Zone Institute to be held in Hong Kong in November – the 2000 Rotary Institute Hong Kong. Traditionally, Rotary institutes are meetings designed for the attendance and participation of past, present and incoming officers of RI resident within the area the institute is to serve. The RI Board attaches great importance to Rotary institutes. They are useful medium of communication for developing and strengthening support, cooperation and understanding between participants. There is an entire section devoted to institutes in the 1998 Manual of Procedure, which again is indicative of its importance in Rotary. Among other things, Rotary institutes provide a forum for learning, discussion and inspiration.
I hope many of you would attend. The last time Hong Kong held an institute was in 1995, and the one before that, a very long time ago. It would probably be a good few years before we would host another zone institute. I hope many presidents, presidents-elect, past governors and present and incoming district officials would attend. I have enclosed with each hard copy of this letter a promotional leaflet with invitation letters from Director Gary Huang, Institute Convenor, and our Past Governor Arthur Au, Institute Chairman. There is also a registration form enclosed. Please make more copies and encourage your members to use them, beginning with yourself.
Before I leave this subject, let me give you one very important reason why more Rotarians in the District should attend, and why you should attend in particular. The reason is that it will better prepare us for the eventual International Convention that we have been lobbying so hard to host in Hong Kong. If indeed we succeed, we would need many Rotarians with the experience that an institute can offer.
From Zone Institute, I move to a recent RI Board decision to restructure service centres. Specifically, the Board decided to close from mid September the Southeast Asia Service Centre in Manila, Philippines. Our District is now serviced on RI and Foundation matters by RI World Headquarters staff at Evanston. Ann Koh and Dora Kordek are now respectively Manager and Coordinator of Club and District Administration for Asia/Pacific. Separate banking information for RI payments and Rotary Foundation contributions have also been made available and sent to all club presidents by the RI Secretariat direct. Please get in touch with your Assistant Governor or District Secretariat if you have other questions.
Still on Rotary news, you would have known by now that RI announced on 11 September 2000 the nomination of Bhichai Rattakul as President-nominee, RI for 2002-03. Bhichai Rattakul is a member of Rotary Club of Dhonburi, Bangkok, Thailand. He was RI Director from 1990 to 1992 and a Trustee of The Rotary Foundation from 1985 to 1986. He served as a member of Parliament of Thailand for nine terms. He was leader of the Democratic Party, foreign minister in 1975-76, deputy Prime Minister for 10 years, and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Bhichai Rattakul is a good friend of Hong Kong and a personal friend of many past governors in the District. He has a distinguished Rotary career since he joined as a charter member of his club in 1958 and is now a member of the 2000-01 Diplomatic Relations Task Force. You can get more details on this distinguished Rotarian from the RI web site.
Back to District matters, the District Rotaract Committee held the Rotaract District Conference on 24 September at Suen Douh Camp in Fanling. It is noteworthy that Committee Chairman Peter Lam (Tai Po) and his Committee had picked September, the New Generations Month, for the event. I went for the opening ceremony, as did Past Governor Joseph Lee and a number of Rotaract advisors. The advisors then met to discuss topical issues in the District, in particular those related to young people, while the Rotaractors had their training session. The advisors reached broad agreement that they should meet more regularly and frequently between themselves and with the District Rotaract Committee and the Rotaract club presidents. I am glad that Joseph Lee and Peter Lam have created awareness of the youth issues and will be taking action to address them.
Also on 24 September, the District held its first ever Swimming Gala in Ma On Shan. It was very well attended. There were well over 400, half of whom spouse and children. It was a day for the family. Full marks to District Sports Committee Chairman Tony C N Kan (Shatin) and the hardworking members of Rotary clubs of Kowloon Northeast and Taipo for putting together such a fine programme, and congratulations to the Rotary Club of Kwai Chung and the Rotary Club of Tai Po for having done so well in the men’s and women’s events respectively.
September also saw a very successful District Rotary Foundation Seminar organized by Committee Chairman Grace Young (Mid Level). There were record registration and attendance. Regional Rotary Foundation Coordinator Jackson Hsieh came from Taipei to give the principal input and RI Director Gary Huang also spoke at the Seminar. Both spoke well of the Seminar and the efforts of the organizers and participants. However, we must not rest on our laurels, for there is still a lot of work to be done. Now is the time to prepare for talks and in-house seminars at club level in November, our Rotary Foundation Month, based on the input and experience gained at the District seminar, so that more members can benefit and learn more about how the Rotary Foundation work and specifically how the many humanitarian, educational and cultural programmes operate. The members of the District Rotary Foundation Committee and Sub-Committees are all ready, willing and able to assist. All you need to do is ask.

Your Governor John Wan