President Dr. Naresh Aggarwal 2017-07-21 12:15:38
WE SERVE “NAMASTE” MEANS “I SALUTE THE DIVINE IN YOU.” Most people spend their lifetime in pursuit of God and inner peace. My worship of God is to serve His living manifestations on earth. My peace and happiness come when those around me enjoy peace and happiness. THIS PHILOSOPHY HAS SHAPED MY PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL LIFE. "I finally found myself - when I lost myself - in the service of others. - Mahatma Gandhi" WE SERVE. I grew up in a town called Batala, in Punjab - a state in the northwest of India. Like many young children, I dreamed of conquering the world. However, the means to this end were more important to me. I wanted to lead through kindness. I dreamed of changing not just Batala, but the entire world. In 1974, when I first stood in the presence of Lions, I knew that I had aligned myself with an organization that could actually help me achieve my dream. We Lions are one with the people of the world. In Sanskrit, it is called “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,” or “World is my Family.” The key to making the world one family, or one home, rests within us - the 1.4 million Lions who dedicate themselves to the needs of others. If each Lion serves at least 10 people per month, we will easily achieve our goal of serving 200 million people each year-tripling our current service output. Service to others defines who we are. It is our very reason to exist as a global organization. Our motto puts it in terms others can easily understand - “We Serve.” As I prepared for my year as your international president, those words kept coming back to me. That’s why I am proud to have “We Serve” represent my theme. Our motto is timeless. It is as relevant today as it was in 1917, and it will inspire us into our next century of service. At the 2015 International Convention in Honolulu, I said, “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” Our most auspicious time-the new century-has come. "Let us reach out to others and impart our ideals-that the world is one family and no child can go to sleep in fear of what tomorrow will bring.” The Power Of Action Like A Mighty River Many cities grow and prosper along the banks of a river. In India, we worship our longest river – the Ganga, or Ganges. We call it “Ganga Maa,” meaning “Ganges Mother,” similar to how Americans use the term “Mother Nature.” Why is the Ganges our mother, or object of worship? Because it gives life. It feeds plants. Plants feed humans and animals. It enables trade and travel. It refreshes itself and the landscape continuously. In India, hundreds of millions of people live by the blessings of the Ganga. A Lions club is very similar. Over the last 100 years, “our river” has formed tributaries in 47,000+ communities (clubs). Now we must constantly refresh our clubs with new ideas and projects and make our river meander through every community in the world. THE POWER OF ACTION We have a presence in most communities around the world. To convert our presence into powerful service, we must infuse the power of action into each member. The key to action is to engage each and every member both socially and professionally. It is only when we serve our members first that we can serve the community. A Lion leader has two hands—one to serve the community and one to serve Lion members. Let us choose projects that maximize the value of each expenditure, member and hour so that we may serve as many urgent needs as possible. MORE MEMBERS EQUAL MORE SERVICE A Lions club brings people together. When people come together, many good things are possible. Friends are made, leaders are chosen, plans are drawn and communities become better. But it all comes down to one thing—service. Our single-minded purpose is and has always been to provide service to those in need. From 1917 through 1987, we surged to 1.4 million members. That equates to 54 new members per day – a phenomenal rate of growth and a testament to the power of Lionism. We have continued our growth, albeit at a slower rate, over the past 30 years, and we have spread to new countries. Still more can be done. NEW MEMBERS: WOMEN AND YOUTH Half the world’s population is women, and over half the world is under 30 years of age. Yet, most of our members are men over the age of 30. Narrowing this gap is the key to expanding our association, enabling us to serve more people in need. Although women comprise the fastest growing segment of our membership growth, we still have only 27 percent women members, despite opening our doors to women more than 30 years ago. We also have too few young members and not enough members in continents with rich histories like Africa, South America and Europe. We must find solutions to each of these challenges. We must continue to provide leadership opportunities for women and ensure our projects meet their expectations and priorities. We must reach young members by understanding what motivates them to serve and let them know we can help them realize their goal of making the world a better place. FOR EVERY NEW MEMBER—WE SERVE AN ADDITIONAL 70 PEOPLE In order to reach our goal of serving 200 million people annually by 2021, it is imperative that we continue to add new members. The Power Of We 100 YEARS IN THE MAKING More Members = More Service Throughout our first century, our membership grew to its current level of 1.4 million. I bow my head to our many leaders who worked hard to spread our message from one club in Chicago to 47,000+ clubs in more than 200 countries or geographic areas. SO WHAT CAN 1.4 MILLION LIONS DO? If each of us puts $10 more in our projects per month, that results in US$170 million more each year. If each of us serves for 1 more hour per week, that gives us 73 million more hours of service each year. WHAT IS NEEDED IS A CHANGE OF HEART. Every day, innovations in technology, medicine, finance and other fields are unveiled that make our lives easier. Yet, 795 million people (11 percent of the world’s population) live in hunger. Food for a hungry person in a low-income country is just US$160 per year. This amount (795 million people x US$160) can be met by the top 1 billion people in the world alone if they give just $0.35 per day. That is the power of we. Solving our world’s greatest problems is within reach if people work together for the common good. MY FOCUS THIS YEAR IS TO EMBRACE OUR ASSOCIATION’S MOTTO “WE SERVE.” It is a powerful expression. “We” symbolizes the power of our 1.4 million members, and “Serve” expresses our clear, decisive action to convert every dollar into service for the most urgent needs around the world. THE POWER OF WE The “Power of We” underscores that my power comes from you, and your power comes from me. I cannot lift a car, but together we can. One person cannot educate a village, but a group of like-minded people can. As more of us come together, the world’s problems become smaller. If all of us come together, then the impossible becomes possible. “WE SERVE” ALSO HIGHLIGHTS OUR MOST IMPORTANT QUALITY – CONNECTIVITY. We are connected to each other as Lions and to the communities we serve. In a chain, each individual link combines to form an unbreakable line. If our chain has 1.4 million strong links, that becomes a powerful force for good. The Future Is Now As we enter our second century of global humanitarian service, we continue to evolve to meet the ever-changing needs. This is truly an exciting time to be a Lion. Our new strategy – LCI Forward – was developed as a road map for Lions to plan, implement and achieve our vision for the future and meet the growing needs of the world. This new strategy will enhance our service framework, reshape public opinion and improve visibility, improve our club, district and organizational excellence and improve our membership experience while reaching new markets. New products, such as the new Lions mobile app, will provide our members the ability to connect with each other like never before – sharing service ideas, photos, videos, and information – bringing Lions together regardless of their location. We have to make the world aware of just how big the world’s problems are, and how relatively simple they are to solve if everyone works together. I feel proud and blessed to be your leader at this most auspicious moment, as we begin our second century of global humanitarian service. On June 7, 1917, in the LaSalle Hotel in Chicago, businessman Melvin Jones announced an ambitious initiative – an association dedicated to the central principle of serving others. He faced many skeptics. There were people who considered it impossible. However, today it is a reality. Today, 1.4 million people walk his path of service to others. There is no greater pleasure in life than to make a dream come true. To make miracles happen. Pick the most improbable dream and spend your life making it come true. Pick a dream that makes each precious moment in your life worth living. Becoming your international president is a dream come true for me. But that is only part of my dream. The rest of my dream is something all of us as Lions share together – a dream that every child in the world is born to a happy, caring family, and is given every opportunity to thrive. Like Gandhi, let us lose ourselves in this dream, for that is where we will find ourselves. With a new service framework and the addition of diabetes as one of our new causes, a reshaping of our service programs, a new marketing technology initiative, a vibrant LCI Forward global strategy, and a new century before us, the future is ours, and the future is now. I have always believed it is important to leave the world better than we found it and a better place for our children and their children. That philosophy has served me well – as a club president, district governor, international director and international vice president. With your help, it will continue to serve me as your international president. And together we will expand our legacy of service. The time to act is now. We can help and we WILL help. Each and every one of you can have a lasting impact. Join hands with me today in committing to serve 200 million lives annually in our new century of service. “TOGETHER: We will harness the power of we. We will commit to action.We will leave the world a better place for all.“ NAMASTE LIONS. NAMASTE.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://digital.lionmagazine.org/article/%E2%80%98Namaste%E2%80%99/2832476/423323/article.html.