I am glad I will have the opportunity, as an RI president from Japan, to be part of the
convention in Portugal. Portugal and Japan have a history together that began in the year 1542. This was the year that a Portuguese boat landed on a southern Japanese island. The Portuguese sailors did not plan to come to Japan. Strong winds blew their boat off course. But it was a happy accident, and the beginning of a peaceful and prosperous relationship.
In 1993, Japan and Portugal celebrated 450 years of good relations. Portugal was the
first European country visited by the Japanese, in the middle of the 16th century. And the long Portuguese presence in Japan has had a lasting effect on my country.
The Portuguese found Japan by accident. But it is no accident that Lisbon has been chosen for this convention. Lisbon is A Harbor for Peace. And peace is the theme of this convention, as it has been the theme between Japan and Portugal for nearly 500 years.
As Rotarians, we work toward peace in many ways. We do it through humanitarian
service. We do it through our belief in Service Above Self. And we work toward peace
simply by being who we are. Every year, when we come together for a Rotary convention,
we see, for a few days, the world as it could be. We see people of all colors and cultures
come together. We work to build a better world.
I hope you will join me, and your fellow Rotarians, as we celebrate this year of Peace Through Service together.