We meet on every wednesday 6.30 PM at Rotary Balbhavan in Panampilly Nagar

The Future of Cochin Rotary Club

Founded by four young men led by the Extra- ordinary Paul Harris in Chicago that was still a frontier town, Rotary International now has more than a million members across the globe. It affects the way we all live in a manner few outside appreciate. Our Club, sixty-five years old has grown in leaps and bounds during these years alongwith Rotary International. Our membership is great, yet they are not at all special because they are Rotarians; they are special because they have chosen to belong to Rotary; and Rotary is special because its high accomplishments were achieved and are still being achieved by you, by men who are aware of the need of the man in the street. It is the need of common men everywhere that Rotary make important, the still surprising need of a world in surfeit, the astonishing endless shortfall of civilisation in surplus.

Where does the history of the Rotary Club of Cochin stand in this geography of Rotary?

We are happy that we are not alone in the awareness of the need or in experience of letting down buckets to draw up bile. What makes our success is its essential lack of solemnity. We know that we live amidst a plethora of aggressive, muscular charity and the service organisations and we do not sound brass non-tinkle cymbals or use amplifiers to advertise our service.

The globalised world of the coming decades offers new opportunities for participation. There was a time in the not too distant past when a Venugopal C. Govind or N.T. Joseph had to travel all the way to America and discuss in person to have a Matching Grant sanctioned. The picture has changed, changed dramatically. Today Paul John or AP Mathew can get a Matching Grant cleared in no time. Our past may well come to be seen as a time of experimentation. I see that habit of international co-operation will become as important as our charities. Yet, with respect to the future world order the crystal ball is clouded. One hopes, however, that the new century will see greater congruence of real or pragmatic action and institutional arrangements. This will involve a new combination of the local and the global or international with important alliances and arrangements.

We should have a deeper vision of service. A vision which has many dimensions between individuals, organisations, between our club and the State, our neighbours and above all with people. Our various skills and initiatives – for conflict resolution, career guidance, vocational training and poverty eradication must be able to serve humanity in resolving their problems from the most complex to the simplest. As members in a service organisation our role will change substantially to problem solving which will be one of the most critical needs of the new century. Coincident with this, in many phases of society there will be a search for alternative means of dispute resolution. Our skill should be made available to resolve these differences as much for business issues and labour disputes as for domestic arguments. We can envision these skills to inhibit goodwill and peace between people and communities.

For over 65 years, we in the Rotary Club of Cochin have embraced basic, ethical and moral values as our compass in an increasingly complex world. Despite many differences we have shared these values and made them an integral part of our identity as Rotarians. As we are in the threshold of a vibrant future we need to draw on these basic principles more and more to revitalise ourselves. As long as our membership is associated with integrity, honour, fairness, tolerance and humanitarianism I am convinced our organisation will overcome any challenge of the future.

Mr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said “The ultimate measure of a person is not where he stands at time of comfort and convenience but where we stand at a time of challenge and controversy”. We have shown it in the past, the future is beckoning us to show it again.

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