Table Speech

“Yoneyama Month” Meeting
“Foundation and Future of Tokyo Yoneyama Yuai RC”

October 6, 2010

Ms. Hiroko Seki
Special Representative of Tokyo Yoneyama Yuai RC
Tokyo Setagaya Chuo RC

 I became a Rotarian 14 years ago. As a member of the District Yoneyama Memorial Scholarship Committee since 2004, I committed myself to establishing the RC consisting of mainly Yoneyama alumni. I have visited Tokyo RC twice when Yoneyama alumni made their table speeches: firstly, by Mr. Jun Ji (international lawyer) and secondly, by Mr. Long Ke (Senior Fellow of Fujitsu Research Institute) this February. A week later, on February 11, 2010, the Tokyo Yoneyama Yuai RC was established. This is the very first RC in Japan with international members, mainly consisting of Yoneyama alumni.

○Sentiments shared by scholars and alumni towards RCs
 Since 2005, District 2750 Yoneyama Memorial Scholarship Committee has worked on fostering mutual understanding and friendship among scholars, counselors and those concerned through field trip to Kyoto or bi-annual social gatherings. These gatherings brought strong ties among scholars and Sewa Clubs (host clubs) even after the scholarship term completed, and many scholars deepened their appreciations towards RCs and Rotarians.

○ Sentiments of alumni towards junior scholars and their understanding on ideal of service
 Active interactions among Rotarians, scholars and alumni further expanded circles of like-minded people. Alumni supported their junior scholars, and Rotarians gave assistance to them. Many scholars joined the service activities of Sewa Clubs and were moved by Rotarians’ voluntary spirits and realized the essence of ideal of service.
 As a natural outcome, Yoneyama scholars and alumni wished for an arena, beyond mere information exchanges, where active interactions would become useful for their future.

○ Establishing the Yoneyama Alumni Regular Meeting
 Expectations for continuous scholarship activities shared by alumni, several past Governors and District Committee members resulted in the establishment of the Yoneyama Alumni Regular Meeting, first held on 14 June, 2008 at Seijo Club in Yuraku-cho.
 Ever since, alumni organized regular meetings to be held on the second Saturday of each month. Rotarians, alumni from other districts, or home-coming alumni have been invited to make table speeches. Frank and enthusiastic exchange of opinions among members have gradually fostered an idea to create a new RC to hand down the Rotary spirit.

○ Establishing a new RC in our District
 While we elaborated on the plan for a new RC, several new-generation clubs were established in other Districts in Kanagawa, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukushima prefectures, Rotary Foundation alumni forming the core of these clubs.
 Solidarity grew firmer among Yoneyama alumni, who came to establish themselves in the society with decent life. Thus, we decided to make them form the core of our new RC. The determination and energy of Yoneyama alumni were the driving force behind this new RC.

○ Features of the new Yoneyama Yuai RC
 We aimed at building bridges throughout the world, under the spirit of Yuai (fellowship). As of September 2010, we have 28 members (13 males and 15 females) from 7 countries and regions (Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Laos and Afghanistan). 18 members are Yoneyama alumni and 10 are Japanese youths: 5 with experiences of studying abroad, 3 children of Rotarians, and 2 former Rotaracts. We are planning to welcome 6 new members, from Germany and the US. The official language is Japanese, although our truly international members are fluent in several languages.

○ How we manage our new RC
 We do not necessarily stick to the conventional management style of other RCs. We call upon young members in their 30s and 40s to help the management and take the following measures to lessen their burdens: 1) Our regular meetings are held on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday nights and the 2nd and 4th Saturday mornings. 2) One drink is served during the meetings, while no meals are served. 3) We do not have an independent secretariat, and members take turns in conducting operations, a common style in Western countries.

○ Objectives of the new RC
 The new RC undertakes the following service activities, utilizing the skills of its members:
1) As Yoneyama alumni constitute this Club, we assist activities of the Yoneyama Memorial Foundation and provide both material and moral support to scholars and non-affiliated alumni. Career-guidance courses are planned for overseas students.
2) Considering the international background of our Club, we promote international service activities as well as social services. In collaboration with our sponsor, Setagaya Central RC, we will host the Blind Football Tournament for the visually impaired during the current Rotary Year.
3) We will sponsor and facilitate Yoneyama alumni to become e-club members in countries and areas with no RCs.

○ What is expected of the Yoneyama Yuai RC
 We are determined to make utmost contribution to international service. We cherish the enthusiasm shared by Rotarians 50 years ago, when they established the Yoneyama Memorial Foundation under the notion that “peace is the only direction for Japan to survive in the future. The best way to make the world understand peace-loving Japan is to receive as many Asian students as possible, and let them directly experience Japan.”
(On May 30th, the attestation ceremony, Memorial Lecture by Mr. Jun Ji and a banquet were held, in which 450 people participated).