"Challenges, trends and opportunities for Rotary 2019-20" - Tor Petter (Gulbrandsen), OVRK Incomming President
Dear presidents, friends, guests, fellow Rotarians!
I am very pleased that we are gathered here today in this joint meeting between Oslo International and Oslo West Rotary clubs. I will spend only a few minutes before moving to what I think is the main purpose of this meeting – the social aspect, the opportunity to meet and greet with other Rotarians, and to enjoy the multi-cultural food that has been so kindly prepared for this event. I also hope the evening will generate a valuable financial contribution to the excellent project that OIRC is conducting in Bangladesh.
I have been asked to talk about challenges, trends and opportunities for Rotary in the time ahead of us. Being the president elect of Oslo West for 2019-2020, I see that these are indeed big and important issues to raise. The coming weekend all incoming presidents in our District – 2310 – will come together for the mandatory so-called PETS – President Elect Training Seminar – at Vettre Hotel in Asker. There we will spend two days discussing these issues, and also try to conclude some firm plans for our clubs – with key targets that we will aim to achieve in the coming year. We know that some of our common challenges relate to attracting new members, and to retain the members we already have. Oslo International has an edge when it comes to average age – it is 53 years. Whereas Oslo West is at 71 years – and the total for District 2310 is 73,5. If the average increases by one year every year, there is no need to tell you what will happen.
The world today is not the same as it was last year, 10 years ago, or not to talk about 1905 when Rotary was founded. Demographics have shifted, the pace of change has accelerated, and technology has created new opportunities for connection and service. We must evolve and keep Rotary not only relevant but also thriving.
I would like to remind you all of the relatively new global vision statement for Rotary:
Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.
This is indeed an ambitious vision. It embraces all dimensions – from the global one to the individual. I suspect that many members of Rotary lack this understanding. I must also admit that I myself was a member for many years before I realized that Rotary is much more than your own club, the weekly coffee, and an interesting speech. A set of core values and priority areas has been launched to give us direction moving forward, but time this evening is not permitting to dig deeper into this. But I would like to make you all aware that there is a lot of good stuff available at rotary.org – both training materials, videos, and various publications.
As you may know, I am also responsible for training activities in our District. I believe that good knowledge of Rotary is a key driver to fully understand where each of us is in the big picture. The main instrument we use for this is RLI – Rotary Leadership Institute – which was launched last year. We are now running the second class of participants from many clubs, creating networks and friendships across clubs, and also districts (since we are doing this together with our neighbouring District). I think it was very rewarding when we got the following feedback from a participant in this autumn’s programme: When I came here, I was a member of Rotary. After attending RLI, I feel that I have become a Rotarian. I hope that many more will undergo this transformation in the time to come.
A similar example of working together is of course the event we have this evening – between two clubs with much in common, but also many differences. Let is profit from all this diversity tonight!
I will not take up more time, but rather again thank those who have arranged this meeting. I guess the right thing to say right now is "bon appetit". Thank you!