RI President's Address to the Centenary Gala Dinner
Unable to attend the Centenary Dinner, Thursday 15 September 2011, in person, Rotary International President Kalyan Banerjee addressed the gathering by video link regretting that he could not on this occasion have been here in person to celebrate this momentous occasion but was hoping to come to Belfast during the Centenary Year.
He congratulated the Club on its first century of service together and gave his best and warmest wishes for a second century of even greater success and for a wonderful centenary year in which the Club will reach within to embrace humanity together...The power of combined effort knows no limitation and he concluded that when we get together, all of us, there is no limit to what we can do.
He emphasised that the Belfast Club is a Rotary Club he would like to visit.
My dear brothers and sisters in Rotary, congratulations on the hundredth anniversary of the Rotary Club of Belfast. I very much wish that I had been able to join you all in person to celebrate this most momentous occasion.
I'll tell you honestly that I had been looking forward to this event for some time, and even more so since I heard about the Club's Centenary Meeting you held this past July. Any Rotary Club that stages the historical re-enactment of its first meeting complete with false moustaches is a Rotary Club I would like to visit. I hope that Benota and I will manage a trip to Belfast one day and when we do I hope for a chance to inspect the contents of the Centenary Box and I trust that by then President Adrian and the current Club members will already have done the job of preparing the Centenary Box to be opened by the Bi-Centenary President.
A centenary celebration is a great event for any Rotary Club. As we move into our second century and see more of the earliest rotary clubs reach this milestone, I have seen certain attributes common to them all. The clubs that have survived and succeeded for one hundred years are the clubs that value harmony and co-operation. The ones that focus on friendship and enjoy their Rotary service, and they are the clubs that remember that the true and pure purpose of Rotary is encapsulated in the three words of our motto "service above self".
Well, when I still thought I'd be able to make it to Belfast I was thinking a bit about what I'd say there in the Belfast City Hall. I thought it would do to have a bit of historical context and so I was looking back through some of the early writings of Paul Harris, the founder of Rotary, and one of the things he wrote was this: Individual efforts when well directed can accomplish much, but the greatest good must come necessarily from the combined efforts of many men. Individual efforts may be turned to individual needs, but combined effort should be dedicated to the service of mankind. The power of combined effort knows no limitation and really that's it, isn't it. That's what is behind Rotary service, the idea that when we get together, all of us, there is no limit to what we can do.
My brothers and sisters I congratulate you on your first century of Rotary service together. I give you my best and my warmest wishes for a second century of even greater success and for a wonderful centenary year in which you will reach within to embrace humanity together.