Rotary Publications Translated into Arabic, RI Representative to the United Nations to Western Asia - ESCWA

Arabic Rotary Publications

Dr. Michel P. Jazzar (left) is the RI Representative to The United Nations Economic and Social Commision to Western Asia and is a dental surgeon from the Kesrouan Rotary Club - Lebanon).
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN-ESCWA), headquartered in Beirut, Lebanon, is one of the five regional commissions under the administrative direction of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. UN-ESCWA promotes economic and social development of Western Asia through regional and subregional cooperation and integration. ESCWA has 13 member States,and reports to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

Rotary International took a wise and historical decision to support the printing and distribution of 12 essential Rotary publications into Arabic language. Past President, Michel P. Jazzar, a Lebanese Rotarian, was appointed to perform this challenge.

By Michel P. Jazzar
On November 1999, the RI Board of Directors recognized the importance of providing Rotary Clubs with the information they need in readable and understandable languages. Meanwhile, a list of essential publications was established.
On February 2000, the Board agreed that a district or group of districts (who speak other than English, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, French, German, Korean, Italian and Swedish) may, on a voluntary basis, translate, print and distribute essential club information to the clubs in their district(s).
They further approved a volunteer’s publications translation plan. First, districts in Finland, The Netherlands, Taiwan and Thailand were selected to participate in this project. Other interested districts were considered to participate. As for District 2450, they were invited to assign a committee or a group and to participate in this project on behalf of the RI Board of Directors. As for the costs of printing and distributing these publications, RI will reimburse district governors the fees.
On November 2007, the RI Board of Directors took the decision to have Rotary International produce in-house a very limited of publications into Arabic. The RI Board included Arabic as one of ten additional languages into which RI will translate and produce documents deemed necessary to the introduction of Rotary into new countries or to support membership development and growth.

What are the RI policies regarding the official languages and translation of publications?

RI Official Language
English is the only official language of RI and all official documents, including club charters, shall be issued in English. A non-English charter issued in a non-English-speaking country was acceptable if accompanied by its translation. Such translation shall not bear the seal of RI or the signature of its Officials.
Study of Languages
Rotary endorses efforts to enhancing the global community and enriching the world’s culture. All Rotarians are encouraged to study languages other than their own for further international understanding, goodwill and peace and to assist in fulfilling the Object of Rotary.
Translation of Rotary Literature
RI policies:
1. RI will provide translated versions of essential club and district information in Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, French, German, Korean, Italian and Swedish.
2. All RI publications shall be revised in English and other languages on a staggered, triennial basis, with those publications affected most by the Council on Legislation. The General Secretary will be authorized to make exceptions to this policy, as necessary.
3. A district or group of districts in which the Rotarians speak a language(s) other than those listed above, may on a voluntary basis, translate, print and distribute essential club information to the clubs in their district(s). Publications translated by volunteers shall not be considered as official.

Role of General Secretary in Translations of Rotary Literature
The translation and printing of Rotary literature shall be under the direct supervision of the General Secretary, who is authorized to approve translations on behalf of the Board and, to modify the text of translations where it appears necessary or advisable in order to make publications more useful to the clubs. The distribution of Rotary literature to clubs shall be made by the Secretariat Office.
Use of Rotarian Volunteers in Translating
The General Secretary shall prepare a database of Rotarians who are able to interpret and translate documents into many languages. By selecting Rotarians to interpret /translate, the General Secretary shall ensure that they will provide a sample of their work.
Translation of Constitutional Documents of Rotary International
A note shall be included in all editions of the Manual of Procedure in languages other than English preceding the section that includes the constitutional documents, to indicate that:
if any question arises regarding the meaning or interpretation of any submitted constitutional documents, the English-language text of these documents remains the official text;
each Governor has a copy of the English-language edition of the Manual of Procedure, including the constitutional documents;
a copy of the constitutional documents in English may be ordered.
Publications Priority List
The General Secretary shall remove and/or add publications to the priority list in order to keep the list updated and in harmony with RI programs.

Translation Early years:

Individual efforts were done in Egypt, in Lebanon and in other Rotary Arab countries to translate Rotary publications into Arabic language, to print and to distribute them on hard copies and on CD as well.
We recognize all these volunteer efforts which have lightened the road. We thank every Rotarian who showed us the way which will be followed by others.
These publications were translated, printed and distributed without RI support. Only the District 2450 has covered the expenses. In the past, Eugene Barakat [Lebanese] a member of RI staff in Zurich office has translated some documents with the support of RI. But all publications were “officially “stopped when Eugene has left the office.

The Story:

It started during the Rotary International Representatives meeting at Evanston on October 2006. At the opening session and after the RI President 2006-07 Bill Boyd welcome’s address a dialogue was opened between the RIP Boyd and the 17 participants. The Rotary extension and image was discussed frankly. RI Representative to UN-ESCWA Michel P. Jazzar, coming from Lebanon [RI D.2450], has asked a question on Rotary development in the Arab and Islamic countries. He captured the attention of all attendees on the following: “How RI could plan for extension and communicate with a foreign language while more then 300 millions of persons spoke Arabic and almost one billion of Muslims consider the Arabic as a holy language!?”
This debate was reported by Doris Margolis, RI Representative to United Nations and member of RC Washington DC, to her fellow Rotarian Theodore [Ted] Hamady who sends his wishes to RI Staff to support within Rotary clubs, Districts, Rotarians and other organizations the project of translation of essential Rotary publications to Arabic language.
This commitment pushed the RI Staff to get in contact with RIR to UN-ESCWA Michel P. Jazzar who accepted the charge to be the RI Contact for Arabic Rotary Publications – ARP - project.
Enthusiastic to this project, District Governor 2007-2008 Farid Gebran appointed then a District 2450 Committee to fulfill the project, this committee was re-appointed into its mission for 2008-09 and 2009-10.

Rotary International support:

Coincidentally, additional support in this area recently came from the RI Board of Directors who took the decision in November 2007 to have Rotary International produce in-house a very limited of publications into Arabic.
The RI Board included Arabic as one of ten additional languages into which RI will translate and produce documents deemed necessary to the introduction of Rotary into new countries or to support membership development and growth.
The Arabic language is now one of the languages which have the support of RI but It is not yet an official language of the Rotary International.
Since 2007, RI has appointed Michel P. Jazzar as contact for the project of 12 essential Rotary publications to be translated, printed and distributed. These publications will be updated regularly according to the English language.

The project:
The facts:Some of the communities in the Arab world are against Rotary for misunderstanding and lack of communication. Our philosophy:The Rotary respects the human cultures. Our vision:Is to promote Rotary with a great tool: The Arab publications. [We leave to Clubs and District to promote their projects within RI and TRF Programs by direct support and/or by International co-sponsors support.] Our Strategy:Is to develop a big range of yearly publications with the support of RI, Districts, Arab speaking Rotarians and Clubs, International Districts, and Clubs and Rotarians as well. The direct link with the RI Staff is the key of success. A District committee will supervise the project under the leadership of the District Governor. The RI will appoint once a year an RI member who will be responsible of the expenses sheet’s signature which will be covered by RI and to follow the RI policies regarding similar projects. Our Goals:Translation, publication and distribution of the Essential Rotary Publications in full commitment and respect of the RI Policies.
We have divided the publications into two parts:1-Publications for Rotary Administration:
It will be all internal publications needed as material for clubs' administration. The number of copies will be limited for Rotary Officers elected for two consecutive years. The PEs for the coming year and the year after should be very well prepared. So the number will multiply by 3 times the number for Rotary Clubs Presidents [e.g. President Kit].2-Publications for Rotarians and the large public of Non-Rotarians:All publications with general information on RI and TRF Programs that would be interesting to be known by all Rotarians and Non-Rotarians. The number of copies will be 5000 or 10000 to help in promoting Rotary in the Arab Region. We are very interested to let current and new members, as well as Club's guests and weekly speakers be informed on our International Organization.

What are the Essential Rotary Publications?

Rotary Year 2007-2008 publications
001 This is Rotary
035 Manual of Procedure 2007
159 Foundation Fact Card
219 TRF Quick Reference Guide
225 Club Officers Kit
242 District Membership Seminar Leaders' Guide
243 PETS Leaders Guide
244 Assistant Governors Training Manual
254 How to Propose a New Member
414 New Member Orientation
595 Rotary Basics
828 District Assembly Leaders' Guide
900 President's Theme Message
900A President's Citation Program
900B Application form for the President's Citation Program

Other Rotary publications will be translated, printed and distributed by the District 2450 Committee:
Glossary [English-Arabic]
770_RCC Handbook [The Rotary Community Corps – RCC - is a Rotary Club’s project for non-Rotarians]
769_Organization form RCC
788_Brochure RCC
RCC_Presentation _ppt
808- Organizing New Clubs
Organizing a new Clubs: Instructions and Forms

New Publications authorized 2008-2009:
084 (1007) - Rotary Centers brochure
611 Peace Fellowship poster.

Media project for Arabic and Islamic countries:
Project which is now under design , will be explained on time.

The District 2450 Committee 2007-2008:
The District 2450 Governor 2007-2008 Farid Gebran has appointed for this purpose the 1st District Committee. DGE 2008-09 and DGN 2009-2010 are also members of this committee as to secure the work for the two years to come. Also two Rotarians are appointed as "International support" because we are aware that this project will cost money and we should cover all expenses. Here are the names:1. DG 2008-2009 Zakaria el Shafei.
2. PDG 2007-08 Farid Gebran3. DG 2009- 2010 Nijad Al Atassi
4. Michel Jazzar - RI contact for translation and publications
5. International Support: Rotarian Theodore [Ted] Hamady – USA.6. International Support: PDG Najib Zakka – France [Europe].Budget:

The budget will cover: Translation, printing, distribution, miscellaneous expenses. This is Rotary [10000 copies] Rotary 2007-2008 Theme [5000 copies] Rotary 2007-2008 Presidential Citation [5000 copies] Rotary Citation form [5000 copies] Rotary Basics [10000 copies]. Other publications’ copies will depend on the Rotary Officers number.

Bank account:
Favor: Bank Of Beirut S.A.L
Dora Branch, Beirut-Lebanon
Beneficiary: Rotary Association-Lebanon, District 2450
Account Number: (11.401.676118.00)
Swift Code: BABELBBE
Correspondent Bank: Bank Of New York-NY

Rotary Association-Lebanon
GEDCO Center
7th Floor
Sin El-Fil
PO Box 5531 Beirut Lebanon


-DG Farid Gebran has introduced this project in the Governor's Monthly Letter. -A blog was launched to introduce the ARP project.
You may download the 12 essential publications: Club’s Kit, Assistant Governor manual, logos, RIP Theme and Citation and more on both pages:

What are the feedbacks?

When we debate on the image of Rotary and Membership Development, we have to be practical. Once a project is launched and got such a support, local, district support and International support, that means we have reached our objectives and fulfill our vision.
We have the support of RI – part for the budget
We got the approval of the DG – part of the budget.
We got the support of the International sponsors:
USA: RC Washington DC and Basra, Iraq Prosthetics Project, RI District #7620 International project.


More then 300 millions of Arabs and almost one billion of Muslims have in common this language, Arabic is a holy language for almost one billion of human beings!
Rotary International who respects the human diverse cultures took this wise decision [late but better then never!] to give its support [with some restrictions] and to promote the publications in Arabic language.
This project needs now all Rotarians’ continuous support in District 2450 and District 9010 as well because when RI supports our language it means that we are now on the right direction to increase the Membership Development and enhance Rotary image in the Arab countries.
How many of us are happy when a foreign approach is "Salam Aleykoum". These two words are the best ice-breaker. Also it is the same to others when we approach them with their language!
Communication within the Arabic language is still the best way to promote Rotary in the Arab world communities.
This project is expected to cover all clubs of District 2450 and District 9010 [North Africa].
Twelve essential publications and more on RCC are under translation and will be printed and distributed between December 2007 and May 2008. Some will be sent to clubs later on according to the updated publications received from RI.
We have already a financial support confirmation from RI, District 2450, Clubs from District 2450, International sponsors from USA and from individual Rotarians.
We have reached our expectations.
Now we can say: It is done..! Congratulations…

I would like to thank hearty:

-RI Representative to UN Doris Margolis, Rotarians Ted Hamady and Linda Smythe as well who pushed together this project forward to be implemented during year 2007-2008.
-The RI Staff: Hollie Horn [Manager], Cherise Thurman [Coordinator], Jane DeMoss, Jackie Granat and Michele Moiron and unknown RI staff.
-PDG 07-08 Farid Gebran, DG 08-09 Zakaria El Shafei, DG 09-10 Nijad Al Atassi whom gave their full support.
-Members of the Arabic Publications Committee.
-All Clubs and All Rotarians from District 2450, District 9010 and other RI Districts who support this millennium challenging, visionary and ambitious project.

Thanks to All of You, Rotarians and friends of Rotary!
You have made me proud of my Rotary pin and of each of you.

For further information on financial support or project’s inquiries:

Michel P. JAZZAR
RI Contact – ARP - Arabic Rotary Publications
PO Box 1951 – Jounieh – Lebanon.