One of the strengths of Rotary International is that it puts a lot of emphasis on training its next group of leaders.  At the club level, Presidents-Elect get the opportunity to attend a PETS – President Elect Training School; and, at the District level, Governors-Elect get to attend what is called International Assembly (IA). I have to say what is magical for club presidents in our district becomes mind-blowing for DGEs at the International level!

On January 8, I had the privilege of attending IA with my wife Peggy.  We each were presented with schedules for the next five days which included attendance at two general sessions each day and two-to-three break-out sessions. 

In the evening we had special functions such as: a Scottish Cielidh to celebrate the elevation of Gordon McInally from Scotland as the next RI President; a culture night to celebrate the richness of traditions among the 491 DGEs from 200 countries in attendance; and a formal banquet on the last night.

In our sessions, we discussed many interesting topics: The Rotary Action Plan; what members want; creating a welcoming environment in our clubs and districts; the impact of our service; building a team; the value of partnerships; Rotary's commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion; storytelling to enhance Rotary's public image; and being a change leader. 

A lot of weighty topics for sure that we came prepared to discuss thanks to on-line learning courses and a Governors Elect Training School we had taken in advance of Orlando.  The facilitated discussions at IA with peers from around the world were quite engaging, and many new friendships resulted.

I returned to the Hudson Valley with a notebook full of goals and thoughts on changes appropriate for our District 7210.  I look forward to sharing these with the District Leadership and our clubs.  And I am humbled – and now prepared – to be a part of leadership for the 2023-2024 Rotary year.

- District Governor Elect Peter Sullivan