Dear Rotarians and Rotaractors,

As I write this final newsletter, I can’t help but feel a mix of emotions. It’s incredible how a year can feel both short and filled with so many significant events. Let’s take a moment to reflect on the highlights of this month.

In continuation of the report on the RI Convention in Melbourne, I am delighted to provide further details to complete the story. The convention’s grand finale was a captivating concert that transported attendees back to the nostalgic era of the 60s and 70s through beloved songs. However, the true highlight of the closing ceremony came when Heather, the wife of RIPE Gordon, took the stage and delivered a heartfelt rendition of the iconic song “Imagine.” This powerful composition, frequently cited by RI President Jennifer Jones in her speeches throughout the year, resonated deeply with the audience, leaving a lasting impact. Following the convention, our District organized a post-convention tour on June 1st, offering a day trip that included a visit to a winery for a delightful lunch accompanied by wine tasting. We also had the pleasure of experiencing a charming ride on the old Puffing Billy railroad, with our feet playfully dangling outside the train. Not only did we have a blast, but we also gained valuable insights into the history of the old town. The outing blessed us with a beautiful day under a clear blue sky adorned with fluffy white clouds. As the day drew to a close, we savored a delightful Australian dinner in the bustling city center. The entire group thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Isa, myself, and a group of Presidents continued our journey with a two-day trip to Sydney before returning to Hong Kong. Exploring the vast beauty of Australia during this convention trip was truly enjoyable. We eagerly anticipate the next convention, set to be held in Singapore.

A delegation comprising Presidents and District Officers embarked on a China Trend Study trip facilitated by the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong. The trip garnered participation from 45 individuals from our District. We had the privilege of engaging in insightful learning sessions, particularly with the assistance of an instructor fluent in Cantonese, which enriched our educational experience. The visits to three prominent corporations on the second day proved to be truly eye-opening, offering us a fresh perspective on various aspects. On the third day, we indulged in a leisurely cultural tour, immersing ourselves in the captivating history of the Qing Dynasty and exploring the significant war that occurred in Guangdong. It was a rewarding and enlightening experience for all involved.

The final Joint Presidents Meeting (JPM) took place on June 27th, resembling a joyous graduation ceremony. We extended invitations to the Presidents-Elect (PEs) as well, allowing them to join in the spirited atmosphere and celebrate along with us. A remarkable turnout of over 150 participants graced the event. As a special gesture, I personally prepared photo frames for each district officer and president. Each frame is engraved with a heartfelt message, “Imagine a better world because of you,” and adorned with carefully selected personalized photos.

The most thrilling moment arrived when DGN Nigel presented the District Awards to each President. This year witnessed a remarkable achievement, with a record-high of 98 out of 107 Clubs submitting for the District Award. Among them, 13 Presidents received the prestigious Platinum Distinction, 15 were awarded Gold, 24 achieved Silver, and many received Bronze and Merit recognition.

The highly anticipated titles of President of the Year, Club of the Year, and Rotarian of the Year will be unveiled during the District Installation. The Platinum Distinction Presidents eagerly await the announcement, hoping to secure the esteemed title of President of the Year.

The year 2022-23 has truly been a year of imagination, transitioning from complete lockdown to a proactive reopening. I am most delighted to share the latest updates and achievements from our district.

Firstly, starting on July 1, 2023, our district will be joining Zone 10C, forging a strong alliance with Rotary Clubs in Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei. This partnership presents an incredible opportunity and a solid platform for our District Leaders to serve Rotary International at a regional level, amplifying our impact and fostering meaningful connections.

The progress of our District Incorporation process has been promising, bringing us closer as a district and streamlining our operations. Once finalized, this will enable us to serve our communities more efficiently.

Our Hong Kong Outstanding Student Service Ambassador Award Program continues to flourish, strengthening its reputation within the school sector. We remain committed to expanding our reach to more schools, nurturing service-oriented leadership among students. Similarly, our Virtual Vocational Exchange (VVE) Programme has gained recognition from Rotary International, motivating us to engage more young professionals in these beneficial exchanges.

Embracing technology, we have launched the E-directory, facilitating convenient access to member information through smartphones. This showcases not only our dedication to adopting new technologies but also aligns with our goal of enhancing overall efficiency.

Membership growth has been remarkable, with an increase of over 7%, and our contributions to the Rotary Foundation have surpassed USD 1 million. These achievements reflect our unwavering commitment to Rotary’s mission and values.

We have successfully promoted Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) through initiatives like Rotary Service Day, effectively conveying the DEI message to communities in Hong Kong, Macau, and Mongolia.

Lastly, our Preserve Planet Earth (PPE) campaign is progressing well, encouraging “Every Rotarian Carbon Zero” and raising awareness through an engaging video competition.

All these accomplishments are a testament to the hard work and dedication of each member. Let us continue to inspire positive change, create a lasting impact, and strengthen our bonds as Rotarians.

I want to express my sincere gratitude to my district officers, PDGs, and fellow Presidents for their dedicated work and support throughout the year. Your contributions have made this Rotary journey incredibly special. Let’s keep the Imagine Spirit alive as we continue to make a positive impact.