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Dr Francis Severin
Dr Francis Severin

Rotarians must strive to be THE inspiration and not merely AN inspiration as they strive to make a difference in their communities and achieve the ideals of Paul P. Harris, the founder of Rotary International.

Dr. Francis Severin, the director of The University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus Country Sites told the Dominica Rotary Club here recently that there is "a meaningful nuance" between the two concepts- "the inspiration" and "an inspiration".

"THE Inspiration implies you must stand out! You must be singular and single-minded. You cannot merely be ANY inspiration! Being THE Inspiration assumes a certain courage, a perceptible audacity, a willingness to be and to do what others may NOT readily do," Dr. Severin said. "The edict Be THE Inspiration implies being unorthodox or nonconformist. Being THE Inspiration speaks to fearlessness and energy. People who are cowards, laggards, and sluggish, especially mentally, have never inspired anyone – certainly not for the right and pure reasons".

Rotary Dominica recently appointed disaster management expert Cecil Shillingford as their 2018 president. The theme of Rotary International 2018 is: "Be the Inspiration".

During the delivery of the feature address at the Rotary investiture, Dr. Severin warned that the club must "do everything NOT to attract" people who would not be true to the ideals of Paul Harris.

"Let us not be naïve. People must be motivated to act in certain ways, whether negative or positive," Dr. Severin said. "But to be THE Inspiration, there has to be a self-drive that is unique and even visceral. In that regard, I am sure you will agree that Rotary is for doers, not for profilers or Pharisees".

Urging Rotarians to shun conservatism, because these people "do not and have never inspired anyone", Dr. Severin said members of the club should not remain silent.

"Well, to tweak the famous U-Turn phrase of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, I now say to you: You remain silent if you want to, this gentleman is not for remaining taciturn and hushed," he said. "Silence, especially when it springs from fear, has NEVER inspired anyone. Silence comes from aimlessness, lack of purpose, lack of thought and lack of courage."