There has never been a greater opportunity or a greater need for prepared leadership for Rotary. As the world’s oldest and most respected service organization, Rotary International has been solving problems and building bridges of friendship and relationships between leaders in more countries than are represented in the United Nations now for more than one hundred years. Consequently, Rotary is increasingly recognized as the “Can-Do” organization that can get the job done when others have failed. No organization, though, can ever succeed beyond the vision and capabilities of its leadership. Rotary is no exception. And since Rotary selects new leaders at most levels each year, the task of training and equipping its ever-changing leadership is a daunting one.

While the Rotary Club is the primary and most important element in Rotary, the Rotary District is the nearest and most essential resource and support to the Clubs. Throughout the world, Rotary Clubs are grouped into Districts (approximately 530 of them), and Districts into paired Zones (34 of them). Each of these Districts must select a District Governor, who will be trained at the Zone and International levels, along with a considerable number of other experienced and knowledgeable resource leaders who can assist the Clubs in meeting their objectives and reaching their goals.

While some district leadership can be trained through multi-district alliances, in most cases the task of equipping its District leadership team falls on each District. In Districts such as ours, that task is compounded by geographical distances that make it difficult, if not impossible, to bring together potential leaders in a central location on any kind of regular basis.

Consequently, the Arizona Rotary Leadership Academy has been born out of a need for a more effective way to bring together for training the best potential leaders for Arizona Districts from wherever they live throughout the state of Arizona.

The goal of the Academy is to provide a comprehensive and standardized preparation for District leadership that will give participants a better understanding of Rotary International, its structure, resources and requirements, as well as an appreciation for our own Districts and their unique heritage of leadership in Rotary — and to be able to fit all of this into those Rotary leaders’ busy schedules.

We believe distance learning is the answer. Through this vehicle we feel we will be able to recruit and train our best from throughout our widespread Districts, and that we will be able to develop over the coming years a pool of better-equipped leaders, from which our future District Governors and other District leadership positions can be selected.

We are convinced we are on the cutting edge of where Rotary must go develop its leadership. Welcome to our Arizona Rotary Leadership Academy! You can be assured that the Rotary World is watching what we are developing together here in Arizona through this cutting edge distance learning concept than can reach out to all Rotarians across Arizona.

We wish you the best and look forward to your graduation.

The Dean and Faculty of the Arizona Rotary Leadership Academy