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RLI International Newsletter

June 2014
The Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) is a multi-district, grassroots leadership development program of member districts organized into regional divisions throughout the world. It is not an official program of Rotary International and is not under its control. The RLI seeks to have Rotary Clubs in member districts identify those Rotarians who seem to have the POTENTIAL for future club leadership (not necessarily as club presidents) and provide those so identified with a quality education in Rotary knowledge and leadership skills for voluntary organizations.

Post Convention Issue

In Memoriam

RLI mourns the passing of Khunying Charoye Rattakul, beloved wife of Past R.I. President Bhichai Rattakul of Thailand. She will be missed by all who had the good fortune to know her.

Quote of the Month

"RLI is a terrific and necessary part of Rotary." Past R.I. President Richard D. King speaking at the RLI Annual Convention Breakfast in Sydney, Australia.

This is the last RLI eBulletin for 2013-14.The next edition will be published in early September.


McGovern and Audernart Receive RLI Distinguished Service Awards at Annual Breakfast at the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney.

PRIVP Michael K. McGovern, Vice-Chair of the Rotary Foundation Trustees, was presented with RLI's highest award, the Distinguished Service Award. Mike has been a long time participant in RLI as a faculty member, past Chair of the RLI Northeast America Division, RLI's largest division and recently as a Special Adviser. He was instrumental in the formation of several RLI Divisions, including Australia. Chair David Linett called his advice to RLI as always greatly valued.

PRIVP Monty Audenart, Aide to R.I. President Ron Burton, a current Trustee of the Rotary Foundation and a RLI Special Adviser, also received the RLI Distinguished Service Award. Despite his many Rotary commitments, Monty served a term as a Regional Vice-Chair for Canada, Northwest USA and Russia and was responsible for completing the expansion of RLI into Zone 24. Canada is now a 100% RLI country. He also was the inspiration behind RLI's new program to encourage Rotary Clubs to send all their new members to an RLI course during their first year of membership in an effort to further retention.His advice has also been greatly valued.

Merchant and Jensen Receive RLI Awards for Outstanding Achievement

PDG Renee Merchant of Michigan received the RLI Award for Outstanding Achievement. Renee was the founding chair of the Great Lakes Division and developed it into one of the best RLI Divisions. All districts but one in Michigan are members of Great Lakes. Not only did she do an outstanding job leading her division, but assisted other area divisions when they needed advice,etc. Her plaque was accepted in her behalf by PRID Robert Stuart, Jr. of Illinois.

PDG Nils Ove Jensen of Denmark, Regional Vice-Chair for Zones 15-16, received the Award for Outstanding Achievement. Nils Ove accepted the challenge to expand RLI into Scandinavia when there were no RLI member districts there and RLI has grown in three Scandinavian countries and nine districts. In his absence, the plaque was accepted in his behalf by PDG Lila Ristelli, Chair of the Finland Division.

The RLI Convention Breakfast attendance exceeded 265 Rotarians and guests and filled the Grand Ballroom at the Four Seasons.

Breakfast speakers included RID John Boag of Australia, incoming RIVP Celia Giay of Argentina and RID Bryn Styles of Canada.

The Principal Speaker at the Breakfast was PRIP Richard D. King who gave an outstanding speech on Rotary leadership.

Thousands of Rotarians and guests visited the RLI Exhibit Booth and most spoke with RLI officers at the booth. Considerable material on RLI was distributed from the booth.

MANY THANKS go to International Officers and other RLI officers who made the Sydney Convention so successful for RLI. Executive Director Michael Rabasca chaired the RLI Breakfast and he and RLI International Vice-Chair Frank Wargo organized and installed the RLI Exhibit Booth. Participating actively at both the Breakfast and booth were International Vice-Chairs Tam Mustapha and Knut Johnsen. Other RLI officers including PDG Binod Khaitan of Inda helped to cover the booth. We especially thank Cathy Roth of Geelong, Victoria, Australia, the RLI Regional Vice-Chair for ANZO for her outstanding assistance in making RLI successful at the Convention.

Welcome New Member Districts

RLI is pleased to welcome Districts 9640 and 9675 as members of the Australia Northern Division in New South Wales and Queensland.

The Agreement of Membership for District 9640 was signed by District Governor Anthony B. Heading and the Agreement for 9675 was signed by District Governor Elect Barry Antees. RID John Boag is the Chair of the Australia Northern Division.

RLI is also very pleased to welcome District 9350 as a member of the Southern Africa Division. The Agreement of Membership was signed by District Governor Elect Cecil Alfred Rose of South Africa. The district covers part of South Africa and all of Namibia and Angola in Southwestern Africa. Chair of that Division is PDG Beth Thomas of South Africa.

We also warmly welcome District 2720 as a member of the Japan Division. The Agreement of Membership was signed by District Governor Takeoki Akayama. The district is in Kumamoto and Oita in the southern part of Japan. The Japan Division Chair is PRID Masahiro Kuroda. The Japan Division now has 13 member districts and is steadily growing.

We are also proud to welcome District 5470 as a member of the Rocky Mountain Division. That district covers part of the US State of Colorado. The Agreement of Membership was signed by DGE Clyde Church. PDG Michael Forney is the Chair of the Division.


Not that it is very important

Although RLI has many 100% member countries, we have not yet had a 100% member continent. Africa has only one district left to be the first 100% RLI member continent and ANZO (Australia, New Zealand, Oceania) has just two member districts needed to be a 100% member continent. PDG Tunji Funsho is the Regional Vice-Chair for most of Africa and Cathy Roth is the Regional Vice-Chair for ANZO.

Asia is so large that for the purpose of 100% regions in Asia we have divided it into three regions - South Asia, Southeast Asia and East Asia. South Asia includes India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Maldives and just one district in India is a non-RLI member.

As of this writing, RLI member districts now total 365 and cover all or parts of 195 countries and geographical areas. Our next goal is to reach 400 member districts.

Personnel Changes/Additions

PDG Albert J. Bergsma of Alberta, Canada is now the RLI Intl. Regional Vice-Chair for Zone 24 and Northwest USA. He has been the Chair of the Prairie Division in Canada. He succeeds PRIVP Monty Audernart, to whom we extend our sincere thanks for his great service to RLI.

PDG Michael Merrill has become Regional Vice- Chair of the newly organized California and Hawaii region. Mike has been the Founding Chair of the Far West Division in northern California. PDG Wyn G. Spriller of District 5190 has succeeded Mike as Chair of the Far West Division.

PDG Wade Drinkard of Alabama is the new Chair of the Heart of America Division succeeding PDG Jane Molloy of Louisiana, whose two year term is ending. We thank Jane for a wonderful two year term as Chair of a large and successful division.

PDG Greg Roche of Massachusetts is the new Executive Director of the Northeast America Division succeeding PDG Brad Jett of New Hampshire. The NEA is RLI's largest division with 26 member districts. We thank Brad for a great term of office.

Dr. Siva Ananthan is the RLI Chair of District 3300, Malaysia.

More personnel changes will be announced in the next eBulletin.


The RLI Discussion Group on the Rotary.org web site now has 204 participants. Join the discussions at rotary.org/myrotary and go to discussion group Rotary Leadership Institute/RLI.

Regional Subcommittees Now Forming for the Curriculum Committee

Because distances and cost limit the attendance of many RLI leaders around the world at the annual Curriculum Committee Meetings, RLI is organizing regional committees in advance of the January, 2015 meeting to review the current curriculum and send recommendations and comments to the full Curriculum Committee. Details will follow to all Divisions.

Online Courses Pilot Programs Underway

Under the leadership of Committee Chair PDG Chris Offer of Canada and Pilot Programs Subcommittee Chair PDG Beryl Robinson of New Zealand, several online pilot programs are in process in various locations around the world. More on this effort in future eBulletins.





“Having leadership skills does not alone assure good Rotary leadership. An effective Rotary leader must ALSO have Rotary knowledge, perspective about where Rotary has been, where it is now and a vision of what Rotary can be.”