Rotary International is to have an Indian president for the year 2011-12
It is the third time in the 105-year-old history of the Rotary International that an Indian has been nominated as the president. Kalyan Banerjee, the nominated president for the year 2011-12 was in the city recently, accepting felicitations from his friends in Kerala.
Visibly happy to be in one of his favourite places, as he refers to Kochi, Banerjee. said, “I am humbled at my nomination. There is a feeling of excitement, anticipation and trepidation. I hope I am able to rise to the expectations of the organisation.”
Though Rotary International has globally suited requirements and different parts of the world have different hopes and aspirations, Banerjee said that his presence would certainly make a difference to the activities of Rotary International in India as he is more familiar with Indian needs and in a better position to fulfill them. He pointed out that of all the obvious problems to be tackled, polio eradication was the primary agenda for the year 2009.
Banerjee has been a Rotarian since 1972. Setting up business in Vapi, Gujarat, way back then, he realised that after retirement he needed to do something more than business. This made him join the Rotary club and take part in its service-oriented activities. Today, Vapi has a 250-bed hospital, a management institute, a nursing college and an arts college, thanks to Rotary intervention.
On the current debate of climate change and the part that Rotary could play, he said, “I agree that we have to make efforts towards reducing all kinds of pollution and emissions and also go in for planting of more trees. I personally believe that the greying of Rotary must go hand in hand with its greening also.” On the efforts of Rotary towards awareness of global issues among youth, Banerjee said various branches of Rotary encourage youth exchange programmes to sensitise citizens between 18 to 30 years of age the world over. In his tenure as president from 2011-12, he would like to lay more stress on care for senior citizens and developing values towards strong family ties. Availability of good and safe water is another issue which is close to his heart. Banerjee maintained that Rotary was his only passion in life but that he does take time out to watch cricket specially when India plays. He used to play tennis once but not anymore.