By Seoha Lee, RI Senior Communications Strategist
Rotary International President R. Gordon R. McInally is calling for Rotary members to “Create Hope in the World” by working for peace and mental wellbeing. The 2023-24 presidential theme is accompanied by a logo that consists of three dynamic shapes with color gradients of dark blue to purple, dark red to light red, and from intense orange to bright yellow.
Gordon explains that the palate is inspired by the colors of Scotland – the purple of heather, the blue of the ocean, and the orange/yellow of the setting sun over the cliffs. The colors identify with modern Scotland and are an intentional move beyond the stereotype of tartan (plaid) often associated with Scotland.
In addition, the colors are also an homage to John Lowrie Morrison, one of Scotland’s most successful and beloved contemporary artists, who produces expressionist oil paintings of Scottish landscapes. The logo colors capture the vibrancy of Morrison’s painting and that of modern, vibrant, colorful Scotland.
The sweep of each element from tail to head represents creation, starting from a point and growing through the shape. The three shapes represent the elements, and are nurturing, protecting, and hugging each other to create a whole.
In his speech to the 2023 International Assembly, President Gordon explained the origins of the theme. In 2006, he visited the village of Ban Taling Chan in Thailand, which had been devastated by a tsunami in late 2004. Rotary members had helped rebuild houses, a meeting hall, and childcare and medical facilities. Upon his arrival, a woman approached him and presented him with a beautiful shell necklace. It had been in her possession for over 30 years and was one of the few possessions she had left.
She had lost her family, her home, her livelihood, and most importantly, her hope and purpose in life. However, she said that everything Rotary had done to rebuild the village made her feel optimistic about the future, and that this gift was her way of showing her appreciation for Rotary’s work.
“She told me that Rotary had restored her optimism. We gave her hope,” Gordon said in his speech. “This is how Rotary brings lasting change to the world. One restored or renewed hope at a time.”
This year, Gordon is encouraging Rotary members to make mental health a priority. Rotary has a unique ability to connect people and cultures, giving hope and receiving it through acts of kindness. Now is the time to expand this culture of care, both within Rotary and in the world at large.