Rotary International President-elect Barry Rassin laid out his vision for the future of the organization on Sunday, calling on leaders to work for a sustainable future and to inspire Rotarians and the community at large.

Rassin, a member of the Rotary Club of East Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas, unveiled the 2018-19 presidential theme, Be the Inspiration, to incoming district governors at Rotary’s International Assembly in San Diego, California, USA. “I want you to inspire in your clubs, your Rotarians, that desire for something greater. The drive to do more, to be more, to create something that will live beyond each of us.”

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2018-19 RI President Barry Rassin announces his presidential theme, Be the Inspiration, at Rotary's International Assembly.


Rassin stressed the power of Rotary’s new vision statement, “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 describes the Rotary that leaders must help build, he said.

To achieve this vision, the president-elect said, Rotarians must take care of the organization: “We are a membership organization first. And if we want to be able to serve, if we want to succeed in our goals — we have to take care of our members first.”

Rassin asked the incoming district governors to “inspire the club presidents, and the Rotarians in your districts, to want to change. To want to do more. To want to reach their own potential. It’s your job to motivate them — and help them find their own way forward.”

Progress on polio

Rassin noted that one source of inspiration has been Rotary’s work to eradicate polio. He described the incredible progress made over the past three decades. In 1988, an estimated 350,000 people were paralyzed by the wild poliovirus; just 20 cases were reported in 2017 as of 27 December. “We are at an incredibly exciting time for polio eradication,” he said, “a point at which each new case of polio could very well be the last.”

He emphasized that even when that last case of polio is recorded, the work won’t be finished. “Polio won’t be over, until the certifying commission says it’s over—when not one poliovirus has been found, in a river, in a sewer, or in a paralyzed child, for at least three years,” he said. “Until then, we have to keep doing everything we’re doing now.” He urged continued dedication to immunization and disease surveillance programs.

Sustaining the environment

Rotary has focused heavily on sustainability in its humanitarian work in recent years. Now, Rassin said, Rotarians must acknowledge some hard realities about pollution, environmental degradation, and climate change. He noted that 80 percent of his own country is within one meter of sea level. With sea levels projected to rise two meters by 2100, he said, “my country is going to be gone in 50 years, along with most of the islands in the Caribbean and coastal cities and low-lying areas all over the world.”

Rassin urged leaders to look at all of Rotary’s service as part of a larger global system. He said that this means the incoming district governors must be an inspiration not only to clubs, but also to their communities. “We want the good we do to last. We want to make the world a better place. Not just here, not just for us, but everywhere, for everyone, for generations.”

Griffith University’s fight towards a cure for one of the world’s most deadly diseases is edging closer after human clinical trials of a malaria vaccine developed by the Institute for Glycomics were a success.

Researchers have shown the world-first whole blood-stage malaria parasite vaccine PlasProtecT®, tested in collaboration with the Gold Coast University Hospital, is safe and induces an immune response in humans.

Now efforts are turning to an international fundraising campaign to enable further evaluation of the vaccine in clinical trials, before researchers can shift their focus to malaria endemic countries.

The Malaria Vaccine Project, officially launched by His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, aims to raise $500,000 to get the research to the next stage through Rotary fundraising efforts.

Speaking at the Institute on Monday (March 27), Sir Cosgrove said the work represented Australian science and innovation at its very best.

“This is what will make a difference, a better world and save lives. It is being done in our corner of the world, for the world,” he said.

The malaria project has been years in the making for researchers Professor Michael Good and Dr Danielle Stanisic who first started clinical trials in 2013 working with medical staff at Gold Coast University Hospital.

Professor Michael Good receives PlasProtect from Dr John Gerrard at the Gold Coast University Hospital.

Professor Good has so much faith in a vaccine that could save millions of people that he was the first person to receive it.  As a study participant, he had to step back from his usual research role in the “first-in-man” clinical trial.

“I wouldn’t ask people to do what I wouldn’t be prepared to do, and we couldn’t do this without the volunteers who give their time to us knowing they are helping further work towards a cure,” he said.

Gold Coast Health Director of Infectious Diseases Dr John Gerrard said ground breaking collaborative research of this type cemented the role of the Gold Coast University Hospital as a leading medical teaching and research centre in Australia.

“For the past four years eight medical specialists have provided medical oversight for the volunteers participating in the trial,” Dr Gerrard said.

Dr Stanisic said volunteers, who had to attend appointments at Griffith University’s s Clinical Trials Unit every two days for a month, were administered with the vaccine which consists of inactivated human malaria parasites that prevent them from growing and causing a malaria infection.

“Initially we showed that this vaccine was able to induce cross-species protection in pre-clinical trials,” she said.

“We’ve now taken a human version of the vaccine and tested it in volunteers and shown it is safe and induces an immune response.

Professor Michael Good and Dr Danielle Stanisic.

“This is a world first. We are the first to put a vaccine like this into humans that has potential to protect against multiple strains and species of malaria.”

There are approximately 3.2 billion people currently living in malaria endemic countries worldwide and of the 500,000 sufferers who die each year, 80 per cent are young children who are simply not strong enough to fight off the killer parasite.

Rotary past district governor Graham Jones AM said Rotary’s work with impregnated nets was helping in all kinds of endemic countries but an effective vaccine was sorely needed.

“This research could be the gateway to sustainable development of the vaccine and its use in eradicating malaria worldwide,” he said.

Steve Carroll, Rotarians Against Malaria chairman for District 9670 who lost his daughter Michelle to malaria when she was 19 years old, said they were on a crusade to make malaria the new polio for Rotary.

“She was our baby and for the first couple of years we were just devastated until we found Rotary,” he said.

“People don’t think of malaria as being much because we’re in a nice safe country but if we can get this vaccine out there, just imagine all the lives it could save.”

The next trial will test whether or not the vaccine protects people by immunising volunteers and challenging them with the malaria parasite.

To donate visit the Malaria Vaccine Project fundraising page.

For more information on how to donate to the Institute visit their website.



In March 2018, it will be 30 years since Rotary Oceania Medical Aid for Children (ROMAC) brought our first patient, 11-year-old Annand Chand from Fiji, to the John Hunter Hospital for life-saving surgery. Since then, over 500 children, from our neighbouring island countries have received life-giving or dignity-restoring surgery, thanks to ROMAC. We can all be proud of our efforts.
To celebrate, I invite you and your partner to attend our 30th Anniversary Dinner at Strangers’ Dining Room, NSW Parliament House, 6 Macquarie Street, Sydney on Friday 16 March 2018.
The dinner is $150 per person (inc GST), plus the online booking fee, and includes 3 courses and drinks. All meals are gluten-free. Dairy-free and vegetarian options are available when booking online. More information about the Dinner is available in the 30th Anniversary Dinner Flyer.
You will be in the illustrious company of the current Rotary International President, Ian H.S. Riseley, and his wife Juliet; The Hon. Brad Hazzard, NSW Minister for Health and Medical Research; other key Rotarians, members of the medical profession and government, former patients and of course, our ROMAC friends and volunteers.
I would be delighted if you can participate in this significant event because:
  • It is a time to look back and to look forward - and to thank and recognise all the members who made ROMAC possible, including your Clubs
  • We need to thank the medical profession - the specialists, nursing and support staff who treat the children - for all they do
  • The governments, agencies and friends who provide support should see what Rotary is made of and what it can achieve
  • You will be supporting ROMAC’s commitment to saving the lives of children
    Please register online at as soon as you can because places are strictly limited. Also, please invite your ROMAC friends and your clubs to attend. Tables of 10 are available for $1500 (inc GST), plus booking fee.
Rob Wilkinson
ROMAC - Rotary Oceania Medical Aid for Children


Would you like to help a child in a wheelchair to experience the thrill of summiting Mt Kosciuszko this March?

Or would you like to experience the thrill of trekking to Everest Base Camp this April/May?


Both events have been arranged by Turramurra Rotary as part of a world record attempt by a spinal injury survivor to climb the “Seven Summits” in just four months.  The events are raising funds for SpinalCure AustraliaSurf Life Saving and Wheelchairs for Kids.


Click here for more info or visit



The Rotary Leadership Institute course is now run over two days, powerpacked with information, learning and skills you can use in your Rotary life straight away. 
Networking with other Rotarians and led by experienced facilitators, you are sure to enjoy what others are describing as the best Rotary training they have had.  Register online now at and supercharge your Rotary.
There are 2 courses available for registration:
RLI 45 - Sunday 18 February and Sunday 18 March 2018
RLI 47 - Saturday 5 and 19 May 2018
Please share this with your club members, particularly new Rotarians and new 2018/19 Board members.
Bobbin Head Cycle Classic  Sunday 25 March 2018
This major community event will be held on Sunday 25 March. It is being organised by the Rotary Clubs of St Ives, Ku-ring-gai, Turramurra and Wahroonga. It is the premier cycling event in Sydney. Some key statistics from the 2017 event:
·         2,500 cyclists raised $200,000 of which 50% was donated to our charity partner, Lifeline
·         The other 50 % was donated to other charities supported by the Rotary clubs organising the event. These   
          charities are:
                       Cromehurst Foundation, Eagle RAPS, The Hornsby Women’s Shelter, Bo Hospital and KYDS
·         Over 400 volunteers are involved to ensure the safety of the cyclists
There are 4 ride distances being 27km, 57km, 80km and 104km. The cost to participate varies with each ride.
Please see the website for full details:
The committee would welcome Rotarians registering to ride in the event. The committee is also looking for volunteers prepared to be marshals during the event to ensure the safety of the cyclists. For further information please email Tony McLelland  at or Peter Lorschy at


The Rotary International Presidential Peacebuilding Conference 2018 (RIPPC 2018),  will be taking place on the 17 March 2018 at Sydney Town Hall. This is a Conference you do not want to miss with this being one of the six Rotary Peace Conferences to be held across the globe.

The Conference Program includes keynote lecturers and presentations from international and national leaders in the industries of ‘Economic and Community Development and Peace’. Delegates will hear about the underlying causes of conflict including poverty, disease, lack of water and food security and the lack of education from our inspirational and stimulating speakers.

There are a number of accommodation options available in Leura, Katoomba and surrounding towns. However the Fairmont Resort has provided options for the Conference weekend.

For a 2 night stay  Friday 9/3/18 and Saturday 10/3/18 rates are:
Fairmont room  (inc breakfast for 1)
Friday night –   $215    Saturday night -   $224
Fairmont room  (inc breakfast for 2)
Friday night –   $244    Saturday night -   $253
Saturday night ONLY 10/3/18 rates are:
Fairmont room  (inc breakfast for 1)
Saturday night -   $331
Fairmont room  (inc breakfast for 2)
Saturday night -   $363
Upgrade fees to other room types apply.
Conference booking code is ROT100318.
Dear Fellow Rotarians,
After almost 100 years of successful operation in Australia and New Zealand, Rotary finds itself at a very significant cross road.  With a declining membership over the last ten years, Australia has lost 4,314 members (13%) and New Zealand has lost 1,967 (19%) plus an ageing membership demographic, the continued existence of Rotary as we know it is under considerable threat.
Do we remain doing what we are currently doing and find we no longer exist in 20 years OR do we acknowledge we have a problem and accept the challenge to work together to address the issues and make the changes necessary to take Rotary forward for another hundred years?  It is both a challenging and an exciting time for Rotary in this part of the world.
There is an urgent need for change both at the Club and the District levels.  Clubs need to find new ways of attracting and retaining members and Districts need to focus their efforts on providing the best possible support mechanisms to Clubs in their crucial endeavour to grow and strengthen Rotary. Larger and better resourced Districts are seen as a significant way of providing this support to Clubs.
In recent weeks I have had the pleasure of working with a ‘Task Force’ of dedicated Rotarians from all levels of service to discuss urgent planning and action required to reverse the serious downward trend in membership across all 27 Districts in Zone 7B and 8 – and discuss how we can all move forward with confidence that Rotary will flourish for another 100 years.
The task force included grass roots Rotarians, club presidents, Governors Nominee, Governors Elect, Past Governors and RI staff – male and female and of a variety of ages.
I am delighted to report a wonderful spirit and commitment during the two days and there was general agreement that I now had to share the same positive message with you all – as we move forward together.
Be very certain that this message is NOT just about re-Districting. Re-Districting is only one of the suite of changes needed to revitalise Rotary ‘down under’.
We all agreed that ONLY Rotary Clubs can turn around the current alarming membership challenge confronting Rotary in the western world.  However, for this to happen, the administration of Rotary at District level has to change dramatically to provide Clubs with the support they need to address this challenge.
The meeting acknowledged that the age of ‘Larger Districts’ has arrived – and that these larger, more resourced and more support focused Districts will start to happen from 1st July 2020.
Planning is already well advanced for the merger of Districts 9700 and 9710 in central west and southern NSW along with Districts 9500 and 9520 in South Australia. Senior leaders are considering various options in WA, Victoria and northern Australia, along with southern Queensland and northern NSW.
Similar discussions are taking place in New Zealand where a meeting is planned for early March to discuss re-Districting options in that country.
The Task Force concluded that new LARGER DISTRICTS provide a great opportunity for:
  • Developing a flatter, more streamlined District administration with access to a greater number of resources to better support clubs, including the possibility of having a paid administrator/CEO to lead the business team and enable cost efficiencies;
  • Decluttering the role of the District Governor and increase focus more on strategic leadership thereby enabling the possibility of attracting working/younger Rotarians taking up the Governor role;
  • Strengthening the role of the Assistant Governor by giving them the training and resources to provide direct support to clubs and turning them into Area Governors with a maximum of 15 clubs each;
  • Making better use of technology for more regular communication within the District and between Clubs and the provision of a wider range of training and support activities;
  • Utilising economies of scale to employ professional facilitators/resources to help Clubs;
  • Dissemination of a clearer ‘national and state voice’ for Rotary and improve the public image of Rotary;
  • Attracting national corporate sponsorship and the possibility to employ a national fund raiser to support and fund the business model.
The Task Force was adamant that such sweeping District changes must not only encourage but also support genuine change within Rotary clubs; it also acknowledged that changes may generate increasing levels of anxiety within Clubs, which is an understandable reaction as things held in high regard for years start to change. 
However, the important thing to remember as we strive to continue as a vibrant, community focused service organisation, is that some things must never change; these include our Objects, Values and Ethics (4 Way Test), as well as our desire to serve others and to enjoy fellowship.
Consequently, for Club leaders to affect meaningful change within their Clubs they will need to appreciate and accept that Rotary has a problem that needs to be addressed and in so doing, they have an exciting opportunity to:
  • Play an active role in changing Rotary to enable it to flourish for at least another hundred years;
  • Re-invigorate their Club with targeted and customised support from the District so they promote and market Rotary in a variety of new ways to attract and retain members;
  • Enhance and strengthen community and vocational service;
  • Promote the new flexibility in Rotary and utilise the new resources available;
  • Work together with other Clubs in different ways or networks that retain individuality and treasured elements but capitalise on the advantages of a larger cohort of members;
  • Establish strategic partnerships with local entities and organisations.
The Task Force also considered how Districts and Clubs could work together to:
  • Make Rotary membership more physically and financially accessible by developing innovative ways of engagement for a wider variety of cultural and special interest groups;
  • Turn the focus from fundraising to service and provide Rotarians with more hands-on ways to serve. I leave you with the new RI Vision Statement … “Together we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change - across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves”
Noel Trevaskis, RI Director 2016-2018
PDG Danny has just been in Vietnam where he has been awarded the Friendship Medal by the President of Vietnam, being the highest honour conferred on a foreigner for service and contributions to Vietnam in addition to promoting friendship between Vietnam and Australia. This comes to Danny after his tireless efforts to bring Rotary to Vietnam and in particular promote relationships between our club and various entities in Vietnam.
Top 5 Reasons to support EndTrachoma by 2020
Clubs around Australia support many worthwhile charities and projects. But EndTrachoma by 2020 is something particularly special for Rotary Australia.
Event Calendar
January 2018


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