Rotary World Leader Comes to Silicon Valley

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Gary C. K. Huang, President-elect of Rotary International for 2014-2015, came to San Jose recently to speak to several hundred upcoming club presidents at the Far West President–Elect Training Seminar (PETS). The Rotary year begins July 1, so Huang is traveling around the world to help train the 34,000 club presidents who will lead their clubs next year.

The greater Silicon Valley, known in Rotary as District 5170, includes 53 clubs from Oakland to Santa Cruz and from Palo Alto to Livermore. With the motto, “Service above Self’’ every club has community projects and international projects. Rotary has about 1,200,000 members worldwide. They meet weekly, hear wonderful speakers and have a lot of fun. Clubs are always looking for new members.

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Huang will be the first Chinese president of Rotary International, a goal he set many years ago. He was born in southern China and grew up in Taiwan. He graduated from Eastern Michigan University and has an MBA from the College of Insurance in New York. He and his wife, Corinna, have three children. In 2004 Huang wrote a book about his business and his Rotary experiences called “Finding Solutions, Not Excuses.”

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Local Rotarians honored Huang and his wife with a lovely reception in the Taiwanese Culture Center in Sunnyvale. Delighted by seeing friends he knew even as long ago as high school, Huang spoke to them in the Taiwanese dialect, encouraging them to become Rotarians. He then taught everyone his trademark “Happy Clap.”

“Eradicating polio has been a goal of Rotary for many years,” said Huang. “By partnering with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other organizations we hope the world will be polio free by 2018.”

He said he chose the theme Light Up Rotary for his presidential year because he was inspired by the teachings of the Chinese philosopher, Confucius, who said: “It is better to light a single candle than to sit and curse the darkness.”

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