Congrats Rtns of
#Nigeria on being declared polio free by WHO &having names removed from list of endemic countries.@Rotary@EndPolioNow
30/05/2016 07:01 am. Today's theme: Journeys of Discovery - Ryan Hyland
Every day of the convention has a theme, an idea that links together the people and presentations of the day.
Today also starts the breakout sessions. Riseley, who is also RI president-nominee, noted there are more than 100 sessions, a record number for a convention.
09:11 am. Cheers! International Toastmaster champion waxes poetic
Dananjaya Hettiarachichi, Toastmaster International World Champion of Public Speaking, talks about the power of storytelling, his life growing up as a troubled teen, and how he managed to transform his life from being a lost teenager to a role model.
10:28 am. Modern day slavery hides in plain sight - Ryan Hyland
“Slavery is not a relic of history. It’s a larger reality now than ever before,” he said.
He said there are three things people should know about slavery:
It’s more vast than ever
It’s more brutal than ever
BUT, it’s more stoppable than ever.
“Rotary is a unique force in the world," he said. "You bring together a global network of volunteers who dedicate your time and talent to tackle the world’s more pressing humanitarian challenges."
“Look where the world once was in the fight against polio. There was a perfectly good vaccine that existed, but the poor and most vulnerable were suffering and dying. Rotarians change everything. You sounded the alarm that woke up the world, and in partnership you raised the resources to make sure everyone got the vaccine."
“I believe Rotary is uniquely positioned, once again, to change everything,” he continued, talking about the need for communities to hold law enforcement accountable. “We know what stops slavery, but there are millions of the world poorest who simply don’t have access to the vaccine.”
11:36 am. Helping to improve the world (planet) - Ryan Hyland
With a growing world population (9 billion by 2050) coupled with rising sea levels, critical habitats will continue to decline, and species will continue to go extinct on a daily basis.
“All of this would be very depressing if we didn’t understand there was something each one of us can do about it, and that working together we can make the world a healthier place,” said Gary Knell, president and CEO of the National Geographic Society.
Knell spoke to convention-goers about how National Geographic uses television, print, digital media, and ancillary operations, including travel expeditions to tell the story of how climate change is changing the planet.
“Even given the urgency the topic provokes, we made sure to include the wonder and the hope,” he said. “Who has the solutions we can learn from? What species might benefit from warmer earth? What can each of us do to contribute to a healthier planet? Your communities will decide.”
Knell adds: “What ties us together, Rotary and the National Geographic Society, is our belief that we can make our world a better place if we work together in a common purpose. Together we can change the world.”
11:51 am. Digging up the past to secure the future - Ryan Hyland
Dr. Sarah Parcak, a National Geographic Fellow, followed Gary Knell’s speech with her story as a pioneering Egyptologist and space archaeologist. Her work focuses on using technology to discover archaeological sites, particularly to work with other groups worldwide to stem the looting of historic locations.
The TED prize winner protects habitats and ancient treasures with new technologies that locate archaeological sites in less invasive ways.
“I believe that archaeological exploration can serve as a catalyst for nothing less than world peace,” she said. “In my 20 years of digging at sites across the globe, I’ve learned that people’s desire to protect their past and learn about where they’ve come from is an incredible unifier—and one we need to embrace strongly now.”
As the 2016 TED Prize winner, Sarah plans to use the $1 million prize to launch a digital platform called Global Xplorer, which will use crowdsourcing and satelite images to discover and protect the history we haven't even begun to dig up yet.
13:36 pm. Rotarians really can have it all - Sallyann Price
After a breakout panel discussion on "Vocational Service in a Wi-Fi World," a blonde mother of two from Minnesota approached the microphone to share her experiences as a club president and businesswoman. Turns out, she's more often described as a blonde mother of two than a club president and businesswoman. Tough luck.
The discussion focused on how we balance work, life, and Rotary service in a culture of constant connectivity, and how we can make the most of the skills we bring. "It's an education process," said Kathryn Schubert, president-elect of the Rotary Club of Omaha-Suburban, Nebraska, USA, and one of the panelists. The more direct experience we have with more different types of people, she said, the better equipped we are to serve others.
13:55 pm. Rotaracting out - Sallyann Price
A group of Rotaractors organized and led a dynamic breakout session this afternoon, designed to engage Rotary and Rotaract members in some of the most pressing questions our organization faces. How can we bridge the generation gap? How can we get more Rotaractors to collaborate with and join Rotary clubs, and how can we make Rotary clubs more attractive places to the rising cohort of tech-savvy young professionals?
I was surprised when I walked into the full room and didn't see a panel seated at microphones on stage, like the other sessions I'd seen. The focus was on small-group discussions, allowing people of all ages and backgrounds to share their experiences, person to person, and glean insight to bring back to their clubs and districts.
14:16 pm. Antiques Loadshow - Ryan Hyland
Expert digger and Rotary member Sarah Parcak, who was a featured speaker at today's session, has found her fair share of priceless artifacts, to say the least. She's located 17 potential pyramids in Egypt, 3,100 forgotten settlements, about 1,000 lost tombs, and made major discoveries throughout the Roman Empire and Viking world. All of which would make a killing on Antiques Roadshow.
Maybe she can help me find my keys next time I misplace them.
Tens of thousands of Rotary club members from some 160 countries gathered once more in the Korea International Exhibition Center in Goyang, Gyeonggi, to discuss what the 1.23-million member group of volunteer leaders can do to “Be a Gift to the World,” the Rotary International’s theme this year.
Titled “Journeys of Discovery,” the second general session of the Rotary International Seoul Convention presented speakers spearheading global movements to promote peace, end modern-day slavery and protect the planet and its history.
Many speakers urged Rotarians to do more.
“Ask not what this convention can do for you, but ask yourself as a Rotarian, what value you can add to the convention,” said Mahatria Ra, a spiritualist from India, using the oft-quoted statement by U.S. President John F. Kennedy.
“It is communities like Rotary that will explore and change the world,” said Gary Knell, CEO of National Geographic Society. He shared stories of an explorer preserving tigers in India, an ecology doctor preserving marine life and a scholarship grantee planting some 10,000 trees with Masai children.
Knell emphasized the importance of educating children to take ownership of the planet.
“The work at National Geographic is creating a sense of ownership in the next generation,” he said. “These children feel they own the trees they planted, and that they own the responsibility to protect their own environment.”
Rotarians also heard from Sarah Parcak, the 2016 TED Prize winner and a National Geographic Fellow, who discovers archaeological sites using satellite images.
“Since the Arab Spring, we have seen a massive amount of looting in Egypt,” she said. “My team and I have mapped this looting, using open source satellite data from 2002 to 2013, and we found looting at 267 sites and over 200,000 looting pits.”
“Looting got worse in 2009, after the global recession, and is a global problem that speaks to Rotary’s work to improve economic development in many parts of the world.”
Parcak is currently building a project using her prize money from TED to create an online platform open to all citizens to monitor looting.
Some speakers were former recipients of the Rotary’s service.
“Finally, I have the opportunity to thank the entire Rotary family for investing in a life-changing moment for me,” said Gary Haugen, founder and president of the International Justice Mission, a human rights organization that rescues victims of slavery and sex trafficking. Haugen is a former Rotary scholar.
Using data from 2014 Global Slavery Index, Haugen urged Rotarians to take action for the nearly 36 million people currently enslaved, which he said is three times the size of those extracted from Africa during the 400 years of slave trade. According to the International Labour Organization, traffickers are making some $150 billion a year in illegal profits, as of 2014. “That’s more profit than Coca-Cola, Disney, General Electric, IBM, Chevron, Wells Fargo and ExxonMobil [make in a year] combined,” he said. “The ancient evil by which one human owns another and uses violence to force them to work thrives in our world like never before.”
Many speakers praised the Rotary’s work and spirit.
“That’s the beauty of rotary, all of you are able to go to the darkest, deepest corners of this world and identify people, to give them compelling reasons to triumph,” said Dananjaya Hettiarachchi, 2016 Toastmasters International World Champion of Public Speaking. He is the first Asian to win the title, though it took him 10 years.
“Through your great work you can paint a story for the most unfortunate people in the world,” he said, “a vision of success and hope that their tomorrow can be better than their today.”
- Esther Chung [email@example.com] in Korea JoongAng Daily
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was among the first to welcome Rotary members and friends to the 107th Rotary Convention, heralded as one of the largest-ever gatherings of Rotarians and the most multicultural assembly of nonprofit leaders in Korea.
He offered a message of gratitude: “Rotarians do remarkable work around the world,” Ban told the thousands of attendees gathered at KINTEX, the Korea International Exhibition and Convention Center in Goyang city, on the outskirts of Seoul. “You help the United Nations reach our goals, and you help the world understand the United Nations.”
He described Allan Albert, the former Rotary president who, 70 years ago this month, participated in discussions that led to the formation of the UN, as “a passionate defender of human understanding who called for people to be real factors in real peace. Together we are working to realize this vision.”
Ban, the Korean national who has led the UN and its ambitious development agenda since 2007, thanked Rotary for its leadership and commitment to humanitarian causes. He highlighted Rotary’s contributions to the fight against polio, in both funding and advocacy.
“The United Nations is proud to be a partner in ending this debilitating disease,” he said, referring to UNICEF’s role in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. “We must keep up the fight. Please continue to raise your voices, hold your governments accountable, and campaign hard.”
The opening session on Sunday morning was infused with local flavor: drummers, dancers, and martial artists warmed up the crowd with K-pop and tae kwon do before the formal remarks began.
An animated hologram of Rotary founder Paul Harris joined RI President K.R. Ravindran on stage. After telling Harris about Rotary’s progress, Ravindran greeted attendees and reflected on his term as Rotary president, including a recent decision by the Council on Legislation to grant clubs more flexibility and autonomy.
“The traditional Rotary model, of weekly meetings and meals, may not be a viable proposition to the professionals of all ages we most need to attract,” Ravindran said. “Your Council made more progressive changes to our constitution than any Council in history — with an eye to a future in which the business of Rotary will be conducted on a level more ambitious than ever before.”
Special guests included prime ministers Hwang Kyo-ahn of South Korea, and Ranil Wickremesinghe of Ravindran’s native Sri Lanka.
Hwang, who was the charter president of the Rotary Club of Seoul before he served as minister of justice, spoke about Rotary’s history and presence in South Korea, now the fourth-strongest Rotary country in terms of membership and one of the strongest supporters of The Rotary Foundation, per capita.
“Ours is a nation built on the ruins of war,” he said. “Our recovery from those dark days has been called a miracle, but it is the kind of miracle that Rotary knows well: of many hands working together to achieve a common goal that could not have been achieved alone.”
Wickremesinghe described polio’s unlikely exit from his own war-torn nation 20 years ago. He also gave a government official’s perspective on the interplay between government and service organizations such as Rotary.
“A Rotary club provides a country with something that every community in every country needs.” He said it complements the government’s work “by offering a way for people who want to make a difference in their community to do it for themselves, together, without having to run for office first.”
In the days and weeks before the convention kicked off, an estimated 43,000 attendees from 160 countries arrived in Seoul, announcing their presence with a parade through the city center on Saturday.
Several thousand participants, many clad in the traditional attire of their home countries, gathered in front of city hall to join in the 3K Walk for Peace. The route to Gwanghwamun Square led participants past the “Rotary Way” photography exhibit featuring images of Rotary service, set against the mountainous backdrop of Bukhansan National Park in the distance.
Sue and Jim Dunlop, members of the Rotary Club of Geelong East, Victoria, were proud to represent Australia at the walk. Before they arrived in Seoul, the Dunlops explored the Korean countryside on one of the Host Organization Committee tours, sampling local fare and mingling with fellow members.
Sue said she savored the vibrant multicultural atmosphere that filled Gwanghwamun Square on Saturday. Her musings about the 3K Walk for Peace could have applied just as easily to the convention itself: “If events like this could happen all the time, in every city around the world, wouldn’t it be wonderful?”
Sri Lanka today hailed the role played by Rotary International during the war to vaccinate the whole country against polio.
Speaking at the Rotary International 2016 Convention in South Korea, the Prime Minister said that polio was eradicated in Sri Lanka in no small part due to the role played by Rotary International.
“Back in 1995 a few Rotarians together with the UNICEF got in touch with the Health Ministry. They wanted to do an NID, a national immunization day. Rotary pledged to bring in one and a half million dollars for it, and was looking for the balance from the government, in order to vaccinate the whole country against polio – in one shot. The officials at the Ministry agreed that it was a good and tested idea; they thought that all children in the country should be vaccinated – except those in the conflict areas of the North and East as the government did not have access or control over those areas at that time. But the Rotarians had insisted that this was not acceptable as this was Rotary money which could not be used to vaccinate only half the country. A couple of months later your President Ravi came back with a letter, delivered to his office and to the UNICEF office. It was a letter from the LTTE in the North saying, “You can have your ceasefire. We will lay down our weapons, if your Government will lay down yours, on the days designated as NIDays”. A ceasefire came into being – they laid down their weapons. We laid down ours. And the Rotarians, UNICEF, Red Cross and other health workers went, with their white flags, on their jeeps, into the North and the East of the country where no one would have dared to go.
We called them Days of Tranquility. And they gave us a polio-free Sri Lanka,” he said.
The Prime Minister also said that a Rotary club as well as other such service organizations provides a country with something that every community, in every country – needs – irrespective of its stage in development.
He said it provides a function that is complementary to government; by offering a way for people who want to make a difference in their community to do it for themselves, together, without having to run for office first.
Source: Colombo GazettePrime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's full speech at the Rotary International Convention
"I am pleased to tell you that The Rotary Foundation has never been stronger than it is today as we begin the celebration for its 100th anniversary next year," says TRF Trustee Ray Klinginsmith. May 31
"Only 14 polio cases have been recorded in Pakistan and Afghanistan this year" - Dr. Rebecca Martin, director of the Center for Global Health at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. May 31
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