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RI President John F Germ - Biography

Whenever John Germ saw a need in his hometown, he engineered a solution. He'll bring the same can-do attitude to the office of RI president.

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Rotary Peace Fellows win resources from "10 for 10th Competition"

Nelson Mandela Remembered as an Ally for Peace, Polio Eradication

'Pakistan and Afghanistan, the last frontiers in the 100-year war on polio'

Shifting Strategy: Nigeria Needs to Remain Polio-Free - GPEI

RI President-elect Ian Riseley on the progress in ending polio in Radio National, Australia

PRIP K R Ravindran's Farewell Message

PRIP KR Ravindran's Farewell Remarks

 John Germ is a man of commitment - The Rotarian Q & A Session

Rotary helps women in Honduras to successfully build their businesses and future - John Hewko in Medium

What is ‘global competence’, and is it the key to inclusive growth? - John Hewko

Creating Sustainable Peace - John Hewko, RI Gen. Secretary in Diplomatic Courier 

What’s Love Got to Do With It? - RI Gen Secretary John Hewko's Special Contribution to the Parliament of World's Religions

Rotary Delegation Visits Pakistan, headed by International Chair Polio Plus Committee

Rotary Trying to Keep a Lid On Cancer In Sri Lanka

Pope greets Rotary members at special Jubilee Audience

Update on Strategic Plan by RID Manoj Desai

Council on Legislation Grants Clubs Greater Flexibility in Meeting, Membership

What should you know about 2016 CoL

The Council on Legislation - First day comes to an end

The Council on Legislation - Second day of action draws to a close

The Council on Legislation – The third day completed

The Council on Legislation – Fourth Day Concluded

The Council on Legislation Comes to an End

Canada & The Polio Story: A Will, A Way, And A Healthier World - Past Rotary Polio Chair Dr. Bob Scott

We’ll see an RI woman President in five years - RI Director Jennifer Jones

2016-17 Theme Address by RIPE John Germ

Download 2016-17 theme logo and materials

Rotary's 2016 International Assembly coverage and resources

TRF Trustee Chair Ray Klinginsmith and incoming Chair Kalyan Banerjee speakes about the direction and long-term vision of the Foundation

Rotary Recognizes Ireland For Its Support of a Polio-Free World

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Student exchanges and international development programs are a path to creating peaceful societies - RI General Secretary John Hewko

Our greatest gift to future generations - Ann Lee Hussey

Polio can affect children anywhere. The poliovirus doesn’t discriminate based on geography, skin color, or religion. If we don’t eradicate polio now, the world could see cases rebound to 200,000 new cases every year, within 10 years.

I’ve participated in 27 immunization campaigns, leading 23, throughout Africa and Asia, not because I’m a polio survivor, but because I believe polio eradication will be one of our greatest gifts to future generations.

People sometimes talk about how much money we can save if we eradicate polio. It’s reported that we could save $40 billion to $50 billion over the next 20 years if we eradicate the disease soon, and the economic impact on families and communities that are affected by polio is staggering.

Uma’s story
During my first trip to Nigeria in 2008, I immunized children in very rural areas. We walked through millet fields, down dirt roads, and across fields with grazing cows to reach clusters of homes. During a visit to one village, I met Uma, who was 11 at the time. Uma had never been to school. As a polio victim, she only had the ability to walk on all fours and the closest school was miles away from her community.

Uma moved me. Her story motivated me to help this community. My fellow health workers told me that I had a unique opportunity to speak with the state governor and request that the village be granted a school. I developed a relationship with the state governor and we began talks about building a school.

“If we invest the additional $1.5 billion needed to eradicate polio, we’ll not only save dollars, we’ll save countless lives and prevent children from suffering from this completely preventable disease.”

After a few more visits, my friend and local Rotary leader Saliu Ahmed and I suggested the village members set up a temporary school to show the governor why they needed funding. When I returned 10 months later, the village had built a small school, made with mud walls and a thatched roof.  This effort proved to the state governor the need for the school. The governor told me, “on your next visit, you will have a new school and when you return, we’ll talk about something else.”

The new school was a larger, cement block building. We provided Uma a wheelchair so she could attend school more easily.

Catalyst for change
I’m impressed with how a simple trip meant for immunization was a catalyst for so many other developments. After I met Uma, we built a school, a public toilet, two wells with solar panel pumps, and a bridge providing year-round access to surrounding communities. Uma’s village became the gathering point for nearby settlements.

My story about Uma and her village is not the only one of its kind. When immunizing, Rotarians see other needs and reach out to help. I find that the infrastructure put in place to vaccinate children against polio provides the foundation to improve other conditions in communities and countries.

If we invest the additional $1.5 billion needed to eradicate polio, we’ll not only save dollars, we’ll save countless lives and prevent children from suffering from this completely preventable disease. Rotary members began this journey and we need to press on to the journey’s end.

- Ann Lee Hussey, a member of the Rotary Club of Portland Sunrise, Maine, USA in Rotary Voices

TRF Grant Survey Shows Solid Support for New Model

More than 6,000 Rotary members in 154 countries reported on their experiences with the new grant model as part of an evaluation during the 2015-16 Rotary year. The results will help us improve the grant process and learn what impact the Foundation's global grants have on our areas of focus.


  • Overall, data from the evaluation suggests that there are high levels of satisfaction with the new grant model. 90% of survey respondents said they support the grant model, and 86% see it as an improvement over the former grant model. ENGLISH (EN) Grant Model Evaluation Summary (April 2016) 2 
  • Both grant activity and the average grant award continue to increase each year. Grant awards increased 24% between 2013-14 and 2014-15. Similarly, the Foundation has continued to see increased giving to the Annual Fund since 2013. 
  • GfK and the Cadre of Technical Advisers conducted a study of the sustainability of our global grant projects. This is the second time since the Future Vision pilot that the Foundation has assessed grant projects for sustainability. The study found a marked improvement in sustainability scores since the pilot period, along with support among Rotarians for making grant projects more sustainable. 
  • Adoption of the new grant model is consistent with our experience during the Future Vision pilot; as clubs and districts learn more about how the grant process works, they become more engaged. We are also seeing increases in the numbers of clubs collaborating per global grant.

The Rotary Foundation Programs Committee conducted the evaluation of the grants program, the largest and most comprehensive that the Foundation has done. The summary report outlines the actions taken as a result of the survey, along with the next steps.

Source: Rotary International

Only complacency can stop Nigeria and Africa from finally conquering polio - The Guardian

Photo Courtesy: UNICEF

In Nigeria, if we’re diligent and careful, we may never see another child lose the use of their legs to polio.

Thirty years ago, millions of children went unvaccinated against a preventable disease that persisted and paralysed in nearly every country in the world. Since then, the number of unvaccinated children has dropped precipitously. While we still have work to do to ensure not even one child is missed, the biggest challengeNigeria has to contend with now is complacency.

On 24 July 2016, Nigeria reached two years without a case of wild polio. That is commendable. But if reaching this landmark has left many euphoric, totaleradication would be historic. If Nigeria and the rest of Africa can make it to July 2017 without a case of polio, we will be officially polio free. To do this, we have to consolidate the progress we have already made, and vigorously invest in our collective capacity to contain and wipe out the disease wherever it may linger.

To banish polio from Nigeria and the rest of the continent, we must vaccinate every child. To miss even one would be to leave the door open for wild polio virus to return, or to risk outbreaks of vaccine-derived polio virus, a very rare form of polio that can emerge in under-immunised populations.

In Nigeria and across Africa, national governments have been instrumental in supporting this last-mile effort. So too have local civil society leaders, religious and traditional chiefs. All have been backed by the incredible commitment of the continent’s health workers. It is through these networks that we are able to quickly, aggressively and effectively respond to the last vestiges of polio in some of the most remote corners of the world.

Since President Muhammadu Buhari took office last year, he has clearly stated that he is committed to ending polio in Nigeria. Earlier this month, following a meeting with Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organisation’s regional director for Africa, Buhari called for a reinvigorated approach to guaranteeing Nigeria’s polio-free status by prioritising public funding to health programmes and to innovative strategies that have enabled the country to immunise millions of children even in hard-to-reach and insecure areas. While national commitment is critical, state governors and local officials need to act on Buhari’s message. They must not only pledge to keep Nigeria polio-free, but also ensure all our children have access to the vaccines they need to protect them from killer diseases.

The health infrastructure built to eradicate polio need not disappear with the disease, either. The infrastructure and response mechanisms built to bring an end to polio can and should be repurposed into sustainable public health programmes and a functioning health infrastructure. We should care for our children with the same excitement we exhibit when bringing them into the world and not abandon responsibility to donors and international agencies.

Nigeria already has the opportunity to develop a great legacy. In the past two years, polio surveillance networks have been used to monitor and contain the 2014 Ebola outbreak, as well as responding to measles and rubella outbreaks throughout Africa.

Nigeria should also take the lessons learned from its emergency operations centres – which have been used to great effect for polio and were instrumental in stopping Ebola – to monitor and control disease outbreaks such as Lassa fever, and provide better health services to the large population of internally displaced people.

I know better than most that the obstacles that stand in the way of eradication are not to be discounted. The violent insurgency in north-east Nigeria has made routine vaccination exceedingly difficult in certain parts of the country, and finding and vaccinating children displaced by violence remains a major challenge. Nonetheless, the eradication of polio is not a luxury. We have come too far and invested too much to rest on our laurels.

Those who have dedicated their lives to improving public health are said to run on impossible idealism and a tenacious commitment to the greater good. Few of them are ever lucky enough to bring a definitive end to such a devastating disease. For all of the children whose lives have been irreparably damaged by an entirely preventable illness, let’s come together and call on our leaders at home and abroad to make polio a distant memory.

Source: The Guardian.  Dr Oyewale Tomori is president of the Nigerian Academy of Science and chairman of Nigeria’s Expert Review Committee on Polio Eradication and Routine Immunisation

Nigeria Marks Major Progress in the Fight Against Polio – But We Cant Let Up Just Yet

Today,Nigeria is marking a major milestone in the polio eradication effort: two years without a single new case of wild polio. This success extends continent-wide, with Africa expected to mark the same milestone on August 11. If the African region succeeds in going another year without polio, it will be certified polio-free in 2017, taking us one step closer to a polio-free world.

This is incredible progress, but it hasn’t come easy. Over the past few years, thousands of volunteer health workers, government officials, traditional and religious leaders have dedicated their careers and lives to the eradication effort. New strategies have been implemented to deliver polio vaccines to nomadic populations, families living in remote, and sometimes insecure areas. Rigorous disease surveillance networks were set up improve monitoring for any new emergence of polio, and new microplans helped ensure no children were missed by vaccines.

Now, as the world’s attention has shifted to Pakistan and Afghanistan – the last two polio-endemic countries – Nigeria and the rest of Africa still face a difficult task ahead: staying polio-free. This means both sustaining the hard work that has already happened, and continuing to make improvements. It means strengthening political and financial commitment at all levels of government and filling any gaps in disease surveillance. It also means further improving vaccination coverage and campaign quality, particularly in hard-to-reach, insecure and underserved areas.

We must also remember that keeping Nigeria and Africa polio-free isn’t just about a single disease. The infrastructure created to end polio is making a dramatic impact on the overall health of communities.

I saw this first-hand when Ebola emerged in Lagos, Nigeria, in July 2014. I was living in Abuja at the time, working as the Deputy Incident Manager/Chief Operations Officer of Nigeria’s Polio Emergency Operations Center, a unique model for coordinating polio eradication activities. We saw that our work to end polio offered important lessons, infrastructure and resources for stopping the outbreak, so I packed my bags and headed to Lagos. There we worked to set up a similar operations center to coordinate the Ebola response, and fortunately it proved to be effective. The Ebola outbreak in Nigeria was declared over just three months after it started. If we didn’t have the resources and knowledge we had gained after years of battling polio, the outcome could have been very different, with devastating consequences as we witnessed in neighboring countries.

The polio experience and infrastructure may once again prove critical in responding to other health emergencies, but, just as importantly, it can be used for disease prevention. As a result of the polio program, frontline health workers are delivering other critical health interventions to children in hard-to-reach and insecure areas, including vitamin A supplements, measles vaccinations and treatment of common diseases such as malaria. Surveillance networks used to identify poliovirus in the environment and trace contacts during outbreaks are also helping countries better map and monitor the presence of other diseases and respond quickly to outbreaks.

Today, we’re closer than ever before to a polio-free future – but the work in Africa is not done. Keeping Nigeria and Africa polio-free requires us to remain focused on reaching every child with vaccines and improving the systems we have in place to monitor and stop outbreaks.

As with most of life’s journeys, it is that last mile, that last hurdle or how we turn that last corner that requires us to muster the best parts of our abilities. If we do it right, if we succeed, then we can ensure a world free of a polio and a healthier future for children everywhere.

Faisal Shuaib, Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Source: End Polio Now

Atlanta Convention Reaches Record Pre-Registration Numbers

In preparation of the 2017 Rotary International Convention, Rotary received a record number of paid pre-registrations during the 2016 convention. With nearly a year before the convention begins, more than 21,000 attendees have already registered, far exceeding previous convention totals for the initial May-June registration period. The 2017 Rotary International Convention will be held in Atlanta, coinciding with the centennial of the Rotary Foundation, which was established during the 1917 convention in Atlanta.

The convention pre-registration announcement comes on the heels of significant strides made against the eradication of polio, Rotary's flagship cause. With just two polio-endemic countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan, there is an opportunity this year to see the last case of polio, giving convention attendees an additional reason to celebrate.

"Rotary's International Convention is a time for Rotary members of all backgrounds and walks of life to come together in celebration of their friendship and mutual dedication to service," said Rotary International President John Germ. "I'm so pleased that once again the great city of Atlanta will be our 2017 host city. With more than 21,000 registrants so far, and thousands more expected attendees, I'm certain the 2017 convention will be one of the largest in Rotary history. I look forward to working with the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau and Rotary's Host Organizing Committee over the coming months to create an unforgettable experience for all those involved."

Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB) and Georgia Department of Economic Development representatives attended the 2016 Rotary International Convention in Korea to pre-promote Atlanta. Both organizations provided pre-and post-trip planning for attendees who registered while on site in Korea. Attendees were further incentivized by a discounted pre-registration rate offered in recognition of the 100th Anniversary of the Rotary Foundation.

"We are excited to welcome Rotary International back to Atlanta for the Foundation's centennial celebration," said William Pate, president and CEO, ACVB. "Atlanta has a long history with Rotary International and it is a special opportunity to welcome Rotary members from around the world to our city."

The 2017 Rotary International Convention will be held June 10-14 at the Georgia World Congress Center. The last time Rotary held its international convention in Atlanta was in 1970.

About ACVB

Established in 1913, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing organization for the city and serves to favorably impact Atlanta's economy through conventions and tourism. A private, not-for-profit organization, ACVB bolsters Atlanta's $15 billion hospitality industry, which generated nearly 51 million visitors in 2015. Visit  for more information.

CONTACT: Audrey Carl, 217-840-0443 or audrey.carl@rotary.org


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www.eflashonline.org is an initiative of Rotary Club of Kalamassery,  R I District 3201, India. Since 1999, eFlash spreads Rotary news and stories online to members from over 100 countries. 

Founder Editor: PDG Sunil K Zachariah

This community operates in accordance with Rotary International policy, but is not an agency of, nor is it controlled by Rotary International


Sunil's Corner

Gift of Appreciation for eFlash from PRIP Matt Caparas

Sunil K Zachariah with PRIP Matt Caparas in Seoul

PRIP Matt Caparas sought out eFlash and complimented it for its work."You are doing great work. I depend on eFlash for Rotary news". 

Editor Sunil K Zachariah was delighted to be invited to meet Matt Caparas at the Seoul Convention. Matt told Sunil that he has now been regular on eFlash for few years. He asked details of its administration.

Sunil thanked him for his generous appreciation of eFlash.

Earlier at the Lisbon Convention, the then President Elect Jon Mujaygbe had similarly complimented eFlash. It is a special privilege for eFlash to have about 10 RI Presidents on our list.

Changes...2016 CoL

Why I Am a Rotarian - Sunil

Keynote Address by PDG Sunil K Zachariah on 9 Sept 2012 at the RCGF of District 3190 at Bangalore

Rotary Institute, Cochin - 2009. PDG Sunil K Zachariah welcomes the gathering

Apply to Serve on an RI Committee

Would you like to contribute to Rotary by serving on a committee? The 10 committees listed below are searching for qualified candidates for openings in 2017-18. Each of these committees works with Rotary leaders to increase efficiency and promote the goals and priorities of our strategic plan.

To be considered for a committee appointment, visit .

The application deadline is 14 August.






Constitution and Bylaws

Election Review


Global Networking Groups

Joint Young Leaders and Alumni Engagement


Rotaract and Interact

Strategic Planning

Source: Rotary International

African youth construct kitchen gardens for genocide survivors

Nearly 140 Rotaractors and guests from across the East African countries of Tanzania, Burundi, Kenya and Uganda gathered in Rwanda on 26 March to participate in the monthly cleaning exercise in Rwanda called Umuganda.

The Rotaractors, through their award-winning annual project called REACT (Rotaract East Africa Impact), had organized a project to construct kitchen gardens and raise funds for medical insurance. Both these activities were geared toward helping the community of the 1994 Rwanda genocide survivors who were resettled in Kinyinya village in Kigali.

These survivors were resettled under the Peace and Hope Initiative. We sought to carry out a project with some guests that wou160718_REACT_factsld be sustainable and enable the people at this community to feed themselves for longer term.

The community was trained with practice to construct kitchen gardens in tight spaces and to balance their diet. By the end of the project, 50 kitchen gardens had been constructed.

Miss Rwanda 2016, Miss Jolly Mutesi, joined us and implored the young girls at the center to be hard workers and make wise choices. She told stories of girls who had listened to the promises of boys in the village, and then found themselves alone once they became pregnant.

We raised 500,000 Rwandan Francs for medical insurance, enough to cover 167 individuals for a year. The project was hosted by the Rotaract Club of Kigali City and the Rotaract Club of KIE and was the fourth annual REACT project after Uganda (2013), Burundi (2014) and Kenya (2015). The 2017 leg will be held in Tanzania and its concept is in development.

Peter King Oloo in Rotary Voices

How to handle a social media crisis

There seems to be a social media crisis or PR nightmare almost every other week nowadays, and even your Rotary club isn’t immune to a potential crisis that can blow out of all proportion.

Crisis planning is essential and an effective crisis plan is based first and foremost on truth, transparency, and sincerity. Every Rotary club should have a strategy for how it will deal with a public relations disaster, either online or offline. If your club does not have a plan in place, I recommend your club devise one as a matter of urgency.

As part of your crisis plan, make sure you or the club leadership can confidently answer these following questions:

  • Who will handle your social media accounts in case of a crisis?
  • What will that person be authorized to write on social media about the crises?
  • Will they need approval for every post?
  • What will the messaging be across all the different platforms i.e. social media, traditional media, other Rotary clubs etc.?
  • Will you have more than one person responding to online posts or offline discussion?
  • What social media posts will you proactively put out there to manage it?

Managing the Crisis
There is no one answer to managing a crisis, you need to do what is best for you and your club. Here are some ideas for successfully managing a social media crisis.

1: Identify & Communicate

If a crisis is identified, urgently inform the club leadership, tell them what’s wrong and give them as much information as you are able to. They may need to seek legal advice or act on the information you give.

2. Acknowledge

Some companies first response is “yes, we realize something has happened” etc. If you don’t have all answers though, then it is a good idea to seek direction on a proper acknowledgment of the crisis. A proper well-informed response may stop nonfactual gossip, messages, or comments.

3. Respond quickly

Once you have some relevant information and received some direction, you should respond to the crisis ASAP. A timely response is essential in limiting the reach and potential damage. Be prepared to acknowledge the crisis within a few hours or at least a day. Two weeks after the crisis has started is way too late!

4. Manage the situation

If you have posted a response to the crisis on your club Facebook page, be cautious about removing comments made by members of the public (unless they are offensive comments, or could be libelous, etc.) To be seen to manipulate the responses to the crisis by selective deleting can itself result in a backlash.

You never know where or when a crisis will break. However, if you manage it properly, the fallout can be minimized.

- Evan Burrell in Rotary Voices

Workshops teach students to be good citizens

Children are the future of any country. We as members of Rotary have an opportunity to mold them in such a way that they can emerge as efficient and valuable resources for our country. All it takes is changing the way we approach our club activities. Not every project has to be a huge project. Sometimes, size isn’t the only indicator of success.

Big results
In June, my club, the Rotary Club of Mumbai Borivali East, partnered with the Rotary Club of Borivali in District 3140 to organize two day-long workshops on the subject of “How to conduct social activities.” Three dozen students in six grade levels (standard 6 to 12) took part. The outcome was amazing. It was a great experience and made me proud to be chairman of the project.

Our first day started with a motivational speech, followed by discussions of eye and organ donations, skin donation, and garbage management. We passed out pledge forms for anyone who wanted to agree to be skin or eye donors. We also charged them with distributing and collecting additional pledge forms among their friends.

The second day, we gave them tips on Yoga followed by a demonstration on garbage management. They learned about water management, hygiene, and ways to protect our environment. We concluded the entire event with a summary of all the topics we had covered, and gave them an opportunity to help us plant trees. The participants then shared their experiences.

Helping Hands
It was amazing to see that some of the students created a Whatsapp Group named “Helping Hands” and started spreading awareness for water conservation, garbage management, and organ donation. The enthusiasm of the students was just amazing.

It was not a huge project, as only 36 students participated. But it was like spreading seeds on the ground; without knowing which seed will become a large tree in future.

Most Rotarians like to be a part of only big projects. But projects like this one work at mimimum cost. I suggest all clubs worldwide organize a project like ours once in a while. It will help the children become good citizens of their respective countries.

Rajesh Kumar Modi, Rotary Club of Mumbai Borivali East, India in Rotary Voices

Rotary Convention 2017

Seoul Convention Digest

Join Fellow Rotarians in Atlanta for the 2017 Rotary Convention and the 100th anniversary of the Rotary Foundation. 

Important deadlines

6 June 2016: Last day for special centennial discount ($265 Rotarians/$70 Rotaractors)
15 December 2016: Last day for early-registration discount ($340 Rotarians/$70 Rotaractors)
31 March 2017: Last day for preregistration discount ($415 Rotarians/$100 Rotaractors)
14 June 2017: Last day for online registration ($490 Rotarians/$130 Rotaractors)


2016-17 RI President John F. Germ invites you to Atlanta

Future Rotary International Conventions

2018: 24-27June, Toronto, Canada

2019: 1-5 June, Hamburg, Germany

2020: 7-10 June,Honolulu, USA

2021: 13-16 June, Taipei, Taiwan

2022: 5-8 June, Texas, USA.

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