Listening to Chiara on Friday, watching the reaction of members and friends present, reminded me again of the impact Rotary Youth Exchange can have in promoting peace. What an emotional Friday it turned out to be, and what a crowd we had. I believe the Rotary Youth Exchange program is one of the most important programs of Rotary. It builds for the future. It brings young people on the path to becoming future leaders of industries, commerce and communities around the world into close proximity for an extended period of time over which lasting friendships are formed. It promotes friendships that break barriers across race, language, religion, cultures and nationalities. The number of Chiara’s friends (international & interstate) who turned up to support her on Friday was testament to that. What better way to ensure a lasting period of peace way into the future while we work to address other issues that currently plague our world.
Image may contain: 1 personWhile thinking of other issues that plague our world, I believe that we need to get behind Darren’s initiative to clean up our oceans and our world. It’s a massive task. I would not have had the faintest idea where to start. I truly admire Darren’s vision, dedication and commitment to address this issue. As we saw from Darren’s presentation on Friday, while the production and use of plastics continue to accelerate at an alarming pace, it is a problem that will not go away any time soon. It will be a protracted campaign just to get started. It is clearly too big a fight for one person, however talented and dedicated he may be. Rotary (i.e. we) needs to get behind him to ensure success. We need to activate out networks to support this. Imagine if Rotary had decided in 80’s that polio was too big an issue for us to address, would we still be seeing only the handful of cases globally that we have today, or would most of our medical resources be tied up in the provision of iron-lungs?
As we roll towards the start of another Rotary year, I’d like to borrow some words sung by The Seekers to take us there:
Well, imagine if Columbus had not dreamt the world was round,
And Armstrong had not walked upon the moon,
If John and Paul never wrote a song for "Yesterday",
If all of them had given up too soon.
Yes, they were always taking chances,
looking for the answers that took the whole world to higher ground.
So if you follow your dream to the end of the road,
Taking care not to let it fade away,
If you follow your dream and you follow it well,
It will lead you to the promise of a bright, shiny day.
Together we build a better world.

Yours in Rotary,
Wesley Sim - President - Perth Rotary 2018/2019