Ian H.S. Riseley - Rotary International President-elect 2016-17

Ian H.S. Riseley

President 2017-18

Dear fellow Rotarians,

For many years, one idea has stood at the heart of all our service: sustainability. Sustainable service means our work continues to have a positive impact long after Rotary’s direct involvement has ended. We don’t dig wells and walk away; we make sure communities can maintain and repair those wells. If we build a clinic, we make sure that clinic has a way to keep running without ongoing support from us.  

One way I’d like for you to contribute in our quest for sustainability is through my tree planting initiative. I ask that you have one tree planted for each member of your club sometime between now and Earth Day, 22 April 2018. The Environmental Sustainability Rotarian Action Group is a great resource that can help you get started. Share your progress online by using #pledgetoplant.

I hope that the result of this effort will be far greater than the environmental benefit that those 1.2 million new trees will bring, which is itself most worthwhile. I believe the greater result will be a Rotary that recognizes our responsibility, not only to the people on our planet—but to the planet itself on which we all live and on which we all depend. 

During my six presidential conferences this year, environmental sustainability is one of many topics up for discussion. Each conference will focus on how peace relates to one of Rotary’s five other areas of focus. My hope is that attendees are inspired take action after attending a conference and will develop new initiatives. Learn more about each of the conferences and how to register.

As I mentioned to you all earlier this year, Rotary Peace Fellow Marie-Paule Attema has already begun her studies and has shared her first blog post, which you can read here. I’m pleased to report that my home country of Australia has welcomed her with open arms and we all look forward to reading her next post as her journey progresses.

Beginning this Rotary year, the Rotary Friendship Exchange program has been expanded to include both Rotarians and non-Rotarians, with an emphasis on including young professionals on exchanges. These exchanges are a unique chance for cultural immersion and interchange, as well as an opportunity to build global understanding and boost vocational and leadership skills.

If you’re interested in participating, contact a district Rotary Friendship Exchange chair. Find exchange partners through the Rotary Friendship Exchange Matching Board. Contact the Rotary Service team for more information.