2004 – 2005 Ian Petersen

Membership: 34-33

Little did I know 18 months ago that a couple of phone calls from Past Presidents inviting me to become President in this historic Rotary International and Club year would start me on such a rewarding journey. Nor indeed did I know that becoming President would lead me to Osaka, Nagoya, Ulan Bator, Shanghai, Beijing, Guangxi, Macau, Taipei, Singapore, Manila, Chicago and San Francisco, all in pursuit of Rotary service and fellowship. Neither did I know how many existing friendships would deepen and how many new ones would be made as a result. Nor what I would learn from all of these experiences. For the honour of being selected to serve as President and the privilege of being able to travel on this year’s exciting Rotary journey, I thank both all members of our Club and all of our friends.

During this Rotary Centennial and Club 40th Anniversary Year, we were very active in a wide range of projects in Hong Kong, Mainland China and overseas. We –

a) completed and opened our Rotary Centennial Project, namely a new science and technology building for the Du An Experimental Middle School in Nanning in Guangxi Province in cooperation with the local authorities and the Rotary Club of Macau;
b) donated educational and medical equipment and materials and conducted health and eye screening and treatment of children in Du An County in Guangxi Province in cooperation with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University;
c) sponsored both a medical clinic and the education of 40 previously destitute children in Ulan Bator in Outer Mongolia;
d) donated 125 wheelchairs out of the District target of 1,000 for use by needy disabled people in China;
e) sponsored construction of water harvesting tanks in India to provide reliable sources of clean drinking water to benefit 5,000 villagers with the aid of a District Simplified Grant in liaison with Rotarians in India;
f) provided funding of HK$100,000 for relief for tsunami and earthquake victims via our District and, directly, arranged shipment of sufficient Shelterbox tents and ancillary equipment to shelter almost 9,000 people in Indonesia;
g) provided free healthcare and language education to refugees and stateless persons in Hong Kong via Christian Action;
h) continued to work with Crossroads International and Global Hand;
i) provided financial assistance to both the Hong Kong Cancer Fund Stride for a Cure and Camp Quality as a major sponsor in each case;
j) assisted St James Settlement with its food bank project for the poor in Wanchai District in Hong Kong;
k) donated HK$60,000 to the Hong Kong Polytechnic University Optometry Clinic to enable it to commence a new programme to provide eye screening and treatment to children with special needs who lack access to such care;
l) made donations to China Coast Community, Operation Santa Claus, Hong Kong Youth Arts Festival, Alliance for Smiles, Aids Concern and Children with Leukemia.
M) supported the Rotary Foundation through contributions of over US$5,000 with one member becoming a Paul Harris Fellow and many becoming Sustaining Rotarians. Some of this money was designated for use in polio eradication;
n) supported Janice Fong, our Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar;
o) helped to promulgate Rotary ideals via our support of the Rotaract Club of Hong Kong Polytechnic University;
p) maintained a very international and diverse membership and promoted good fellowship within our club;
q) maintained links with four sister clubs, namely, Ama in Japan, Taipei North in Taiwan, Jurong Town in Singapore and Mandaluyong in the Philippines, and invited all of them to join us for our 40th Anniversary Celebration from 19 to 22 May this year; and
u) supported and participated in Rotary International’s Centennial Conference in Chicago in June 2005.

We celebrated Rotary International 100th Anniversary, on 23 February 2005 with our District at the Rotary International Centennial Race Meeting in Happy Valley. This event was attended by 450 of our District’s 1750 Rotarians, with 11 from our Club, including President Ian Petersen, whose own birthday coincidentally also falls on 23 February. We participated fully in District events including the District Installation, District Conference, the District Assembly, Joint Presidents’ Meetings and various social functions. Together with the other Clubs in Area 7, we organized the tree planting ceremony and fundraising for the District’s Centennial Garden Project in the country park overlooking Starling Inlet in the New Territories.

We also provided service to the District, with PDG Joseph Lee, AG Ramesh Chugani, IPP Nic Robinson and President Ian Petersen all playing their parts. AG Ramesh also provided useful advice to our Club about District matters.

As usual, we were active in fellowship, with parties at Papu Butani’s home, the Cavern Club and the Holiday Inn Golden Mile where we held our traditional Christmas party. We had three theatre trips, including two to shows starring PP Gilbert Collins. We also went tenpin bowling. We visited Christian Action, the China Coast Community, the Hong Kong Film Archive and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University Optometry Clinic. Rtn Angela Wong and various other members helped organize these events. Many Club Members attended the wonderful celebrations organized by Rtn Papu Butani for his son’s wedding and by Rtn Micheal Harilela for his daughter’s wedding. We were also delighted for Rtn Rianna Chugani and her husband when they had their first child.

From 19 to 22 May 2005, we organized our 40th Anniversary Celebration programme, which included a golf tournament, outings, dinner at PP Gary Harilela’s home, a Ball at the Conrad Hotel and a boat trip to the islands of Hong Kong. This Celebration could not have been organized but for the hard work and dedication of PP Bruce Stinson who deserves due recognition for his efforts. PP Gary was also very supportive in organizing hotel accommodation, hosting the dinner at his home and providing a lot of useful historical information about our Club. PP Bill Benter’s strong sponsorship and support enabled our Club to organize our Celebration Ball in a memorable way, with no less than five entertainment acts and all visiting Rotarians and Rotaractors from our District, our four sister Clubs, our service partner Club and our Rotaract Club all attending as our guests.

As part of this Celebration, we produced a commemorative book containing our Club’s 40 years of history, which we distributed in hard copy and placed on our website along with pictures taken during the Celebration, messages of goodwill, speeches and other items of interest. Photographs taken at the Celebration Ball and a video made of the event were also distributed to all of our Members our District and our sister and service partner clubs. We also had made Club casual shirts featuring both the Rotary wheel and our Club’s Sampan logo, both for our ongoing use and for distribution to our sister club members who attended our Celebration.

Our Celebration was enjoyed by all who participated in it. We received very positive feedback about it. Building on the feeling of goodwill that this international fellowship event generated, our Club launched and is coordinating a new six Club international service education project in Guangxi to complement the projects already being done by our Club there and to commemorate our 40th Anniversary. Our four sister Clubs, our service partner Club and ourselves have all agreed to work together and have all already contributed towards seed money for this project. We intend to apply to both our District and Rotary International for grants and to conduct fundraising activities to meet the balance of the project costs.

Members of our Club traveled extensively in the interests of our Club. In July 2004, PP Gilbert Collins, PE Howard Davies and President Ian Petersen went to Ulan Bator in Outer Mongolia. Major delegations from our Club and the Rotary Club of Macau visited Du An in October 2004 and March 2005 and on the latter trip presided over the opening of our Centennial Project, namely, the Science and Technology building of the Du An Experimental Middle School. Details of this project can be viewed via our website. Several other smaller scale visits to Du An were also made by VP Maureen Boost and Rtns Pauline Cho and Colman Chan who are spearheading the eye and health screening and treatment programmes there. In January 2005, President Ian Petersen and PP Steve Lan visited the Rotary Club of Ama, our sister club in Nagoya to foster our relationship and to invite them to our Celebration. President Ian Petersen then visited our other three sister clubs, namely, the Rotary Club of Taipei North in late March 2005, the Rotary Club of Jurong Town in early April 2005 and the Rotary Club of Mandaluyong later that month for the same purposes.

In June 2005, PP Bill Benter, Rtn Angela Wong and President Ian Petersen attended the Rotary International Centennial Convention in Chicago in the USA. While there, we joined in the District 3450 Dinner, the Rotary International Centennial Parade, the Rotary International Centennial Run for Polio Eradication, the Asia Pacific Breakfast, the District 3450 Golf Day and the visit to Rotary International’s Headquarters at Evanston, together with other Rotarians from our District’s delegation comprising 120 Rotarians led by our District Governor Alex Mak. President Ian Petersen also attended a meeting of the original Rotary Club founded by Paul Harris 100 years ago, namely, the Rotary Club of Chicago, also known as Rotary One for short. President Ian exchanged banners there. He also placed one of our Club’s banners in Rotary International’s archive and left another on the desk of RI President Glenn Estess, when he visited his office in Evanston. More significantly, President Ian took the opportunity to place a copy of our Club’s 40th Anniversary Celebration Programme and Club History in Rotary International’s Time Capsule, which is to be opened in 100 years from now when RI reaches 200 years of age! Our delegation was delighted to meet up with our friends from Crossroads and Global Hand, Sally and Malcom Begbie, fellow Rotarians from some of our sister clubs, members of Shelterbox as well as our Rotarian and other friends from the Alliance for Smiles who were most hospitable. And, in our Club’s tradition of strong fellowship, we took the opportunity to enjoy the fine restaurants and blues and jazz music for which Chicago is reknowned.

During the year, VP Maureen Boost did a good job of organizing speakers for our regular lunch meetings. Rtn Pam Smith reported on all of these for our e-newsletter, The Sampan, which was well produced by Rtn Emba Leung and which can be viewed on our website, www.rotary3450.org/kowloon-north. IPP Nic Robinson and Rtn David Wright provided strong support in their respective roles as Honorary Treasurer and Honorary Secretary. David also provided engineering advice to both our Club and the District on certain projects. PE Howard was active in a number of areas including our projects in Outer Mongolia, Du An and our local community as well as in preparing presentations, articles and historical records. Other members also played their parts, with PP David Lindsay helping to organize some fellowship events and to secure the District Simplified Grant for our Indian Water Resources Project. PP Bill Benter commenced a new membership development programme as well as providing strong support for both our Centennial Project and our Celebration. Rtn Raju Wadhwani was very supportive of our wheelchair, child sponsorship and eye screening and treatment programmes.

Membership remained stable during the year. Rtns Les Whittle, Brian Wong, Susie Young and May Chan had to leave owing to their leaving Hong Kong or other changes to their circumstances. Fortunately, we remain in contact with them all and we have recruited three excellent new Rotarians, namely, Rtns David Bruce, Pauline Cho, and Colman Chan, two of whom were introduced by VP Maureen Boost. In addition, we have made a special effort to update and renew our contacts with former members of our Club. We are pleased that many visit us at our regular weekly meetings when they are in town and that many have been able to be with us in Hong Kong as our guests for our 40th Anniversary Celebrations. We also keep our door open to our alumni to rejoin us, in the event that their circumstances change and they return to Hong Kong to live.

Overall, our Club has had a hectic, proactive enjoyable and successful year, as is fitting for such a unique combination of Rotary International’s Centenary with our Club’s 40th Anniversary Celebration.

Our efforts were recognized by our Rotary International and our District which presented our Club with no less than three awards, namely –
Presidential Citation for continued efforts in four avenues of service
District Award for Health Concern
Centennial Community Project Award

In addition, PDG Joseph Lee was recognized by Rotary International and our District for becoming a Major Donor, AG Ramesh Chugani was recognized for his services to the District, President Ian Petersen became a Paul Harris Fellow and 30 of our Club Members were recognized Rotary Foundation Sustaining Members.

As a result, we are looking forward with confidence both to Rotary International’s Second Century and to the coming decade leading up to our Club’s 50th Anniversary in 2014-2015.

As Club President, I have thoroughly enjoyed this year, including all activities involving our Club as well as those involving our sister and service partner clubs, our District and, in particular, Area 7 within our District. I’ve learned a lot, made many friends and had some wonderful experiences. I am most grateful to have had this chance and for the efforts made by so many both within our Club outside it to make this such a worthwhile, memorable and enjoyable experience. I wish President Elect Howard Davies and our Club every success in his 2005-2006 presidency and will do all I can to support him.

Yours in Rotary
President Ian Petersen
Rotary Year 2004-2005