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I find many traditional Chinese values reflected in Rotary: values of service and responsibility, of respect for family and for others. Sometimes I call Confucius the world's first Rotarian, because even though he died 2,500 years before Rotary was founded, his ideas are very much Rotary ideas. And one of the things he said was: 與其抱怨，不如改變.
In English, you say, "It is better to light a single candle than to sit and curse the darkness."
I think that one line sums up the way we in Rotary approach the problems of the world. There is so much difficulty. There are so many people who need help. Many people look at this and say, "There is nothing I can do." So they do nothing -- and nothing changes.
But this is not the Rotary way. The Rotary way is to light a candle. I light one candle, you light one candle -- and so do 1.2 million other Rotarians. Together, we can do so much more than we could ever do alone. Together, we can light up the world.
In 2014-15, I am asking each of you to light your own Rotary candle -- and Light Up Rotary together.
There are so many ways to Light Up Rotary. I hope many of you will choose to host a Rotary Day, to show your community what Rotary is and what we do. I hope you will involve your Rotaract and Interact clubs in your service, to bring the new generation of the Rotary family closer to Rotary membership. And I hope you will keep Rotary strong by inviting new members into Rotary – including your own spouse and family.
Perhaps the most important thing we can do to Light Up Rotary is to finish the job we've been working on for more than a quarter of a century: the eradication of polio. We are so close to our goal. But we will get there only if we keep up the fight, keep up the momentum, and close the funding gap for the polio endgame plan.
Light Up Rotary is our theme for this year, but it is more than just a theme. It is how we in Rotary see the world and our role in it. We believe that no one should sit alone in the darkness. Instead, we can come together, all 1.2 million of us, to Light Up Rotary. This is our goal -- and my challenge to you.