Posted by RI PRESIDENT IAN RISELEY on Jul 11, 2017
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.
As district governor, you will receive special recognition if 60 percent or more of the clubs in your district qualify for the 2017-18 Rotary Citation.
To earn this year’s citation, the following activities are required of clubs:
  • Pay your July 2017 and January 2018 club invoices on time
  • Report volunteer hours and service project contributions in Rotary Club Central
Please ask each club to accurately track the hours and the money they spend on their service, so we can get those important year-end numbers.
In addition, at least four club goals must be achieved in the following categories: support and strengthen clubs, focus and increase humanitarian service, and enhance Rotary’s public image and awareness. Download your copy of the 2017-18 presidential citation for more information. If you have questions, contact the Rotary Awards team.
Now that you have stepped into your new role as district governor, I hope you to take the time to reflect on why you chose to take on this position, and the impact you can have on the clubs in your district. There’s a great deal of work ahead of us, but it’s only when we come together that we are able to embody Rotary: Making a Difference.
Ian Riseley
Rotary International President, 2017-18