Turn Your Passion into Action in 2012

January 12, 2012

2012 JCI World President2012 JCI President Bertolt Daems thanks members for their commitment to positive change and encourages taking impact to a new level this year.

By 2012 JCI President Bertolt Daems
Dear JCI members, Senators and Alumni,
Let me start by wishing you all a very happy new year. I look forward to spending this year bringing our Passion into Action by inspiring each other and working hard together to fulfill our shared mission.

A Bright New Year
Looking forward is, in my opinion, only possible after taking a look back. Last year, 2011 JCI President Kentaro Harada called for a world led by active citizens. He focused on the responsibility of the individual in creating a better future. Indeed, 2011 was a year of tremendous progress for citizens across the world. Generous members and individuals throughout the world donated time and funds to help Japan recover from the worst natural disaster in its history. People throughout northern Africa took the future of their nations into their own hands and continue to work toward a better future with greater freedom and equality. Young people showed us the power of social media and their passion for creating a better life for themselves as well as their neighbors. Throughout 2011, I was continuously impressed by the power of a group of people to influence government and policy
We are now seeing a great transition to governments of law, advocated by active citizens. We are witnessing greater interaction between individuals across borders. Our world is becoming smaller, and because of this, JCI will get bigger and provide even greater opportunities for young people to change the planet. But these opportunities also pose challenges, as we have seen in Syria which was scheduled to host the 2012 JCI Africa and Middle East Conference. The Conference will now take place in Casablanca, Morocco. Although the change is necessary, I would like to thank all the members of JCI Syria and especially those who worked so hard to prepare their first JCI Area Conference.

What’s Your Passion?
These areas aren’t the only communities with challenges. The UN Millennium Development Goals (UN MDGs) were created to raise awareness of fundamental issues throughout our world. JCI has been working hard to advance these goals through needs-based projects. As JCI members, we possess the unique opportunity to create an impact through the framework of the UN MDGs on the grassroots level, where it’s most needed. In 2012, we will go on spreading this awareness and creating innovative projects to take decisive action on problems in our communities. We will look for partners with whom we can collaborate when creating positive change and use the JCI Active Citizen Framework to solve root issues. We will go on engaging leaders, businesses and governments to adhere to the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact. My company, thanks to President Kentaro, is now a committed member of the UN Global Compact. I hope we, as active citizens, can all take the responsibility to understand the Ten Principles and take the action to be part of the UN Global Compact.

Peace and tolerance between individuals and nations is essential to building a brighter future and increasing international collaboration to develop solutions to common problems. Therefore, I hope we will continue spreading the OMOIYARI spirit, using our existing partners and looking for new ones to share this philosophy. Step by step, side by side, we can create a better world by advocating peace.
Overall, major changes in the international landscape continue to unfold. Everywhere, new challenges have emerged that underscore our mutual interdependence. As solution-providers, JCI members can take the lead by transforming passion into action. By mobilizing community, commitment and communication, the active citizens of JCI can turn the tides of history.

In 2012, I encourage you to think critically about how you can embark on a new strategic plan that will build on recent accomplishments and also put JCI on a path to a sustainable future. Keep the following words of wisdom in mind:

“When you dream of peace
And your heart tells you not to stop dreaming; live your passion.
When you dream of peace
And life is offering you the chances to contribute, go for it.
When you dream of peace
And by every step you take, you can already see the next one, and the next one and the next one; keep on walking.
When you dream of peace and you find yourself surrounded by friends with the same dream; collaborate.
When you dream of peace
And a global organization is there for you to help make that dream come true, hold on to it. Know it. Stimulate it. Nurture it. Guide it. Love it, and put your Passion into Action.”

I think of myself as a 2012 JCI member, but with a special task. In this capacity, I am looking forward to creating that result with you, together.

Let’s turn our Passion into Action!

Bertolt Daems
2012 JCI President