RI President Barry Rassin 2018-19: Rotary International Board of Directors has adopted a new vision statement, reflecting our aspirations for our organization and its future. It reads, “Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.” - That simple sentence distills so much of what is essential about Rotary. We unite, because we know that we are far stronger together than we could ever be alone. We take action, because we are not dreamers, but doers. We work to create lasting change that will endure long after our involvement has ended – across the globe and in our communities. And perhaps most important of all, we work to create change in ourselves – not just building a better world around us but becoming better people ourselves.


In this part of the world, the number of Rotary members is decreasing. I have tried to find out the reasons for this development in the spirit of our time, competition between different activities, changing organizational needs and expectations, as well as the relationship between publicity and Rotary. Are we old fashioned and/or trying to take too long leap in modernization?

I think we will miss the opportunities of internal influence, education, and motivation, if things are seen only outside from the point of view of publicity and the rapidly growing media. We should not forget Rotary's strong basis, 1.2 million members, for which and why Rotary organization has its right to live and flourish.

Rotary is a huge training organization with well-trained members and a constant need for training, knowledge and expertise. There is an endless need for a better understanding of world affairs to enable peace, cooperation, and services. But without the knowledge, internal motivation, and vision of what's happening around us, Rotary's development cannot succeed.

Rotary has been working for over a hundred years without interruption and the objective way in which it operates has maintained its strength in many major world events, as in eradication of Polio. Its ethically sustainable principles have enabled continuity of operations. Rotary International is the oldest service organization with 34,000 clubs in over 200 countries and on all continents.

Although social change is rapid and communication methods and platforms have expanded exponentially, we have to face the question of values and power of strong traditions. Rotary is not for those who are trying to gain the benefit and the glory of Rotary service but is working for those who want to help others and to grow spiritually and physically.

The rapid change in our operating environment and the new media hype can’t divide the membership because of knowledge, age or other causes touching modernization. Rotary needs the commitment of all its members to live a strong life also in the future. The strong basement of Rotary is the same today as it was in the early beginning of our organization.

Lars-Olof Fredriksson RI director (2008-10)



Worldwide membership is 1,227,017 as of 28 February 2018. The figure is going up as total in the Rotary world but in our Zones 15 and 16 the loss is about 4,5 percent from 1 July 2017 to date.

Globally main loser is the American continent (both north and south), except Caribbean area and the greatest winners come from India. Australian membership as also African are falling and the European figures are in the middle; better in UK than other part of Europe. Scandinavian figures are deteriorating as mentioned above. Social change refers to an alteration in the social order of a society. Social change may include changes in nature, social institutions, social behaviors, or social relations often in relation to time. In the days of birth (1905) Rotary with its young members formed a homogenous entity having a leader status. Those days the society was stable and more coherent. Rotary had its hegemony from United States and the next Rotary countries followed that mode but not any more. Big Worldwide exceptional circumstances as wars and depression had its effect to all ordinary life but Rotary increased its membership steadily. In the late 1990 came the turn and recession to nowadays figures.

Why, what has happened in the old Rotary world?

Number of refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced people count now the most since World War II. Afgahans, Syrians and Somalis made up more than half of the global refugee population. 50% of them children, Syrians alone 11 milion!  Globally, one in every 122 humans is now either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum.


Lars has been a Rotarian since 1985 serving D1390, Finland, as governor 1999 and several years as District Trainer.- Rotary International Lars served as RI Director (2008-10), PR task force member, zone coordinator and several other task forces. He has also been COL representative 2007 and NMRCP country representative. Lars has visited, with his wife Nina, 12 District Conferences as President’s Rep. and 12 RI Conventions, latest in Seoul. As RI Director he managed two RI Institutes (Tampere 2008 and Warsaw 2009).

PDF-tiedostoRI AT A GLANCE LOF 2018.pdf (2.6 MB)
PDF-tiedostoRI DECISION MAKING 2018.pdf (2.5 MB)
PDF-tiedostoRotary for tomorrow.pdf (444 kB)