Rotary Leadership Institute
 
What is the Rotary Leadership Institute
The Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) is a multi-district, grassroots leadership development program of member districts organized into regional divisions throughout the world.
 
It is not an official program of Rotary International and is not under its control BUT the success of RLI is that it is a grass-roots program administered by Rotarians locally, and not by Rotary International as an official program.  The RI Board does not want to undertake the administrative and operational burden to endorse or make it a Rotary program.
 
The RLI seeks to have Rotary Clubs in member districts identify those Rotarians who seem to have the POTENTIAL for future club leadership (not necessarily as club presidents) and provide those so identified with a quality education in Rotary knowledge and leadership skills for voluntary organizations.
 
"Having leadership skills does not alone assure good Rotary leadership. An effective Rotary leader must ALSO have Rotary knowledge, perspective about where Rotary has been, where it is now and a vision of what Rotary can be." 
 
There have been some misconceptions in some parts of the world about the effect of the R.I. Board's decision to take no action on the Council of Legislation's Resolution 13-168. That Resolution called for RLI to become an "official affiliate" or a "structured program" of Rotary International. Neither R.I. nor RLI was in favor of RLI becoming a structured program (there is no provision in the R.I. governing documents for an official affiliate) because RLI has been very successful as a grassroots program controlled by Rotary Districts. If RLI were to become a structured program, R.I. would need to incur considerable expense for operational support while R.I. can and does support RLI without any expense whatsoever.
 
The action of the Board was in no sense, a lack of support for RLI by Rotary International.
 
This is WHY:
 
In February of 2002 when RLI began to expand internationally, the R.I Board of Directors adopted the following DECISION that is still in effect:
 
184. DECISION: The Board
 
1. thanks District 7510 (the initial RLI district) for its proposed resolution but does not agree to adopt the Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) as an official program of RLI;
 
2. recognizes the success of the RLI in club leadership training;
 
3. encourages other districts to use the RLI program or develop a similar program with training methodologies that are appropriate to their area;
 
4. agrees to feature the RLI as a training success story with other Rotarian-developed training programs on Rotary's website.
 
In 2002 RLI was MUCH smaller and there were a few even smaller fairly similar programs, but today there are no comparable club leadership development programs of the international scope and activity of RLI.
 
The Board also authorized RLI to use the Rotary name in its title.
 
As the result of similar proposals by the Council on Legislation in the years following, the R.I. Staff recently researched prior Board actions and noted that the "strength in the program is that it is a grass-roots initiative. The RI Board has already taken a decision to commend the program, we (the R.I. Staff) have done articles on leadership programs and included RLI". 
 
Recently President Gary Huang addressed a message to the Chair of the RLI French Division, responding to his request, that said, in part:
 
Relating to the prior Board action stated above, President Huang said "The Board has upheld that decision (February, 2002) in subsequent years. The success of RLI is that it is a grass-roots program administered by Rotarians locally, and not by Rotary International as an official program. The RI Board did not want to undertake the administrative and operational burden to endorse or make it a Rotary program. You have my personal  congratulations for your efforts to train future leaders of Rotary. Thank you and your RLI team from Zone 11 for all you are doing to Light Up Rotary."
 
RLI with more than 365 member districts that cover all or parts of 195 countries and geographical areas in every continent except Antarctica, is by far the largest grassroots multi-district program in Rotary. It continues to grow and has the support of a 125 member Senior Leaders Advisory Board, 17 of who are current, past and future R.I. Presidents. RLI has a discussion group on the Rotary Website, conducted a discussion group at the Lisbon Convention, holds an annual convention breakfast usually with a past or future R.I President as a speaker, conducts a convention exhibit booth, holds breakfasts and other events at Rotary Institutes and more and more. President Huang and many other R.I. Officers have spoken at these breakfasts/events. Many thousands of Rotarians take RLI courses every Rotary year to help further the RLI mission to strengthen Rotary through quality education.
 
The officers of RLI believe it is not necessary to have RLI resolutions on the COL agendas for every Council meeting because we have all the support of Rotary International that we need and request. 
 
The late PRIVP and Trustee Monty Audenart, in a statement last year, said, 
 
"RLI IS UNDOUBTEDLY ONE OF THE BEST PROGRAMS TO ENGAGE, EDUCATE AND RETAIN OUR MEMBERS."
 
RLI PHILOSOPHY
"Having leadership skills does not alone assure good Rotary leadership. An effective Rotary leader must ALSO have Rotary knowledge, perspective about where Rotary has been, where it is now and a vision of what Rotary can be."