Bhichai Rattakul joined the Rotary Club of Dhonburi in Bangkok as a charter member in 1958 and became President of Rotary International in 2002-03.
He was educated in Bangkok and Hong Kong and received an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Political Science from the University of Ramkhamhaeng University in Bangkok and Kensington University in California.
A Member of Parliament for nine terms since 1969 and Leader of the Democrat Party, he has served his country as Foreign Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Speaker of the House of Representatives and President of the Parliament. He has also led many Thai delegations to the United Nations.
Bhichai Rattakul is Honorary Vice President of the Thai Scout Council. He has also served as Chairman of the Anti Corruption Commission, Anti Drugs Commission, National Audit Commission and the 13th Asian Games Organizing committee.
He has been decorated with Special Class Honor from the King of Thailand and honors from the Emperor of Japan, Presidents of the Philippines, Korea, Austria, and Nicaragua. He was also awarded the highest International Olympic Award and the Asian Olympic Award by the International Olympics Committee.
Rotary Theme 2002-03
Bhichai Rattakul spoke of his Rotary Theme at the International Assembly in 2002-03.
To each of us, Rotary has a different and special meaning. Some of us cherish the warm fellowship our clubs offer, while
others especially appreciate the opportunities to serve and help those in need. Many of us value Rotary for its international spirit, which so efficiently binds us together in service from every part of the world.
There are thousands of activities going on at this moment in the name of Rotary. Whatever we do, one element remains constant: The best Rotary fellowship and service always comes from the heart. When love is infused into our actions, we do not stop to question the time or money we are sacrificing. We are inspired to do more, to give more. Love is the motivating force behind all of Rotary’s best work.
As Mother Teresa once said: “It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” When we perform an act with love, it will inherently be more effective and will penetrate more deeply into the hearts and minds of those we serve.
We Rotarians already have so much love within ourselves, but with the ambitious goals that we have set before us, we need more people to share our beliefs and commitments. The best way we can ensure the continuity of our organization is by Sowing the Seeds of Love in as many hearts as possible.
And that is what I will be urging all Rotarians to do in the year 2002-03: Sow the Seeds of Love — in your clubs, in your vocations, in your communities, and everywhere in our world.
Rotary offers us countless ways to Sow the Seeds of Love.
Through the programs of Rotary International and its Foundation — and I urge you through your own inspiration and initiative, working not from the top down but from the grassroots level up — we can volunteer our professional talents where they are most needed; help young people overcome today’s constraints and become tomorrow’s leaders; develop service partnerships across national borders; and fulfill our commitment of worldwide polio eradication.