Thu, Feb 24, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Centennial of Rotary marked by new stamp

By Wu Chin-sheng吳進生

Stamps prominently displaying the word "Taiwan," which have been designed to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Rotary International, went on sale yesterday. This is the first time in 109 years that Chunghwa Post has issued stamps designed by Rotary International, and more significantly, has made the word "Taiwan" such a prominent part of the design.

Rotary International was established in 1905, and this year the organization celebrates the centenary of its founding. To symbolize Rotary International's long-term commitment to maintaining world peace and its contribution to humanity, the Chunghwa Post Co. agreed to print the "Centennial Anniversary Of Rotary International Commemorative Issue," a set of two stamps. One of these, with a face value of NT$12, features a dove and the Rotary International logo to symbolize the organization's century-long efforts to foster world peace. The second stamp, with a face value of NT$5, features an image of Taiwan next to the organization's logo, to represent the strength of the Rotary International spirit in Taiwan.

The original design was for a set of four stamps, including one representing Paul Harris (1868-1947), the founder of Rotary International, a map of the seven Rotary districts in Taiwan, and the remaining two representing Rotary Internationals achievements in working for world peace and in the elimination of polio. Twelve designs were produced, and on Jan. 9 last year, were submitted to Chunghwa Post. The design process spanned three years and involved one year and four months of work.

The stamp with the NT$12 value is pale blue and uses the symbol that now represents the Rotary Peace Programs, a dove with an olive branch. The NT$5 stamp has a pale green ground over which there is an image of Taiwan, which is presented in the tradition of Rotary International's refusal to represent national boundaries, but rather to indicate its own areas of service. Underneath this are the words "Rotary in Taiwan" in both English and Chinese. This design was proposed prior to the presidential elections in 2004, and following the elections, can serve as a symbolic image of Taiwan's society today.

To commemorate this anniversary, 800,000 sets of these stamps will be issued, and in the 20 days prior to their release, there have already been a flood of orders.

According to Li Cai-luan (李彩鑾), director of the Postal Museum, the first print run of 120,000 sets of the stamps, which will be sold as first day covers, had already all been bought by Rotary members and friends by Feb. 2. Because of the popularity, people have been forced to go to post offices in remote locations in order to obtain these highly valued stamps.

Rotary International is a non-political, non-religious, non-profit organization, which includes people from many fields. The development of non-profit groups is a sign of social development to a higher level of civilization, and the proportion of the population that are members of the organization is a further index of this.

Clearly Taiwan has great potential to develop as a center for Rotary International, and the centenary and the stamp issue can be seen as heralding a time of accelerated increase in Rotary membership. Our voice in this "self-transcending" organization will be louder and we will be able to create a further wave voluntary work that is "Made in Taiwan."

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