RI President's Window

Congrats Rtns of on being declared polio free by WHO &having names removed from list of endemic countries.@Rotary@EndPolioNow

RI President K R Ravindran’s speech at Mumbai

Benefits of Membership - RI President K.R. Ravindran's speech at the IA 2016

RI President K R Ravindran's Speech at CHOGM 2015, Malta

In Seoul. Recd by a group of volunteers and Host committee Chair Sangkoo Yun. We are ready for the big event.

At York, Pennsylvania. With the DG, DGE, DGN, DGN?designate. Nice to see a great team like this.

President K R Ravindran’s Address at the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore Closing the Jubilee Celebrations.

Rotary Chat with RI President K R Ravindran, 19 August 2015

What is new

Rotary Trying to Keep a Lid On Cancer In Sri Lanka

Rwandan President Kagame discuss further partnerships with RI President K R Ravindran

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

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

President Ravi asks CoL to be trustees of Rotary's tradition and also its future

For a polio-free world - RI President K R Ravindran in The Jordan Times 

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

The clean water and sanitation crisis: How we can do better - Gen.Secretary John Hewko in DEVEX

Dr. Hashrat Ara Moved to Action

Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi joins hand with Rotary India Literacy Mission

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

The Tale of the Pakistani Taliban Father Whose Baby Had Polio - A TIME Story

Minda Dentler, Ironman athlete, polio survivor and mother reflects on India's Success

2016-17 Theme Address by RIPE John Germ

Download 2016-17 theme logo and materials

Rotary's 2016 International Assembly coverage and resources

The TRF Trustees select Susan Davis for the 2015-16 Rotary Global Alumni Service to Humanity Award.


Sri Lanka honours RI President K R Ravindran

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

Focus on polio cases - RI President K R Ravindran

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

R I President KR Ravindran has been conferred Doctorate in Business Administration by University of Korea, Dankook. Read his Speech

Rotary to Honour Six “Global Women of Action”

John Hewko and a team of eight RI staff members raises money for Polio Eradication

RI President K R Ravindran's Speech at Parliament of World's Religions

Celebrating A Polio-Free Nigeria - Michael K. McGovern, Chair, Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee

Rotary no longer an elite club - K R Ravindran, RI President

 

Rotary Global Rewards: Rotary's new member benefit program.

Ian Riseley is the choice of the Nominating Committee as RI President for 2017/18

Government of Canada Partners with Rotary Foundation Canada to Eradicate Polio Worldwide and Reduce Poverty in Developing Countries

A Dozen Ways to Make the Most of Your Membership

Polio-free world forever - RI President K R Ravindran writes in Times of Malta

Nigeria's One Year Milestone

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RI President K.R. Ravindran at the Rotary Convention in Seoul

Convention Program. Tuesday, 31 May

RI Convention - Second Day Highlights

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

Gary Haugen, president and CEO of International Justice Mission, broke down disturbing figures of modern-day slavery at this morning's general session, the second so far.

“Slavery is not a relic of history. It’s a larger reality now than ever before,” he said.

  • An estimated 35 million people are held illegally in slavery, which is roughly the size of Canada and three times more slaves than were extracted from Africa during 400 years of the transatlantic slave trade.
  • Profits from modern slavery are “astronomical." Each year, slavery is a $150 billion business – generating more profit than Apple, Exxon, Chevron, Microsoft, and Facebook combined.
  • While slavery exists in every country, he said, it has concentrated itself in a few countries where slave traffickers can freely get away with it. Ten countries hold 70 percent of world’s slaves.

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. 

 

Source: riconvention.org

Rotary Convention speakers inspire audience - Korea JoongAng Daily

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 [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr] in Korea JoongAng Daily

UN Chief Ban Ki-Moon Opens Korea Convention

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon Opening the RI Convention - Video

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon indicates that we are “This Close” to ending polio because of Rotary’s great work, during the opening session of the Rotary Convention in Korea on Sunday, 29 May.
Photo Credit: SJ Cho

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.

PAUL HARRIS MAKES A SURPRISE APPEARANCE

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.”

WALK FOR PEACE

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?”

Sallyann Price, Rotary International

Sri Lankan Prime minister hails role played by Rotary International during war

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 Gazette

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's full speech at the Rotary International Convention

Glimpses of happenings at Seoul 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

Michael McGovern announces that for first time ever, no polio viruses were found in environmental samples taken in this week in Pakistan. 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

"Sometimes you meet someone and they remind you of what is possible in the world." Mark Waddington. May 31

"I have joined 24 polio campaigns and they have given me some of my best experiences."  Says, Brad Howard. May 31

Gen Secretary John Hewko poses an important question to Rotarians

The Atlanta Convention booth in the House of Friendship for a special early registration rate of $265.  May 30

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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 Reports from Seoul

Opening Day

Ban Ki Boon Applauds Rotary

Bank Ki Boon, Secretary General of United Nations told the Rotary Convention at Seoul today that Rotary and UN have worked together all the years. He recognised the efforts of several Rotarians to begin the UN. He applauded Rotary's campaign to end Polio. "Our partnership is stronger than Polio", he said. He asked Rotarians to work for a polio free world.

Ban Ki Moon urged Rotarians to work together to change the world.

Rotary International Convention opens in Seoul

Hi, I am Sunil K Zachariah reporting for eFlash from Seoul.

Few minutes ago the Rotary International Convention began with a colourful start with President Ravi Ravindran welcoming Delegates. He said that for 51 weeks Rotarians work locally all over the world; for 1 week they gather together at one place to celebrate Rotary. This week, over 45000 Rotarians from all corners of the world are in Seoul. This is the highest number of delegates ever for a Rotary International Convention.

Seoul is a beautiful city on the banks of River Han. It is called the Miracle of River Han. In less than 50 years, Korea has marvelled the world with amaxing economic growth, fuelled by technology. From ship-building to electronics to automobiles, Korea leads the world.

President Ravi "used technology" and "spoke" to Paul Harris, the founder of Rotary. This innovatively conceived "conversation", was applauded loudly by the delegates. This was followed by the flag ceremony, this year done by Interactors. Every year, the flag ceremony is done differently and it never fails to impress.

 

RI Convention opening day Highlights

2016/05/29 10:21  Filling in the gaps - Ryan Hyland

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's full speech at the Rotary International Convention

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe believes service organizations can play a vital role in government action. With many nations still recovering from the Great Recession, the Sri Lankan leader says organizations like Rotary can help fill in the gaps.

“Fiscal stress has led to cutbacks and uncertainty in government spending, particularly in the social sector,” said Wickremesinghe. “In this background, service organizations have a larger role to play in mobilizing personnel resources to fill in the gap – created by the government withdrawals.

“Another role that service organizations can play is to officially act as an oversight body on the function of a government establishment in their field of expertise,” he said.

He told the crowd this method is working in India where a public trust is overseeing programs at the Indian University Grants Commission.

“No doubt that this would mean that government establishments would need to pull up their socks – leading to greater efficiency and productivity,” Wickremesinghe said.

2016/05/29 08:51 Korean Prime Minister Addresses convention-goers - Ryan Hyland

Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn applauded Korean Rotarians saying, "I'm proud that Korea is now one of the strongest per-captia supporters of the Rotary Foundation in the world. And I'm proud as well that Korean Rotarians have been a part of Rotary's work to eradicate polio." 

He added: "Today, you have come to Korea to celebrate the achievements of this past year -- not only in polio eradication, but in all of your service in so many areas."

2016/05/29 08:17  Case zero - Ryan Hyland


"We are all waiting anxiously for 'case zero'. Until that day comes, we have to redouble our efforts," Ban Ki-moon said. "Please continue to raise your voice and hold your Governments accountable during this campaign to end this disease."

Kim-moon mentioned the deaths of polio vaccinators and said that "Rotary and the world must pay tribute to their lives by ending this disease forever."

"I have one simple message and it's only four words: Thank you very much," he said

2016/05/29 08:01  Ban Ki-moon calls Rotary an "invaluable partner" - Ryan Hyland

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon took the stage at the opening session today, telling attendees that Rotary has an invaluable partnership with the UN. "Our common activities are saving lives," he said. 

The UN chief heralded Rotary's work in polio. "I'm especially grateful for your mission to eradicate polio. The result of your work in human terms is immeasurable... You must continue to raise your voice and hold your governments accountable to keeping polio out of its countries. We have one percent left. But we have much more work to do.

- Rotary International

'Our partnership is stronger than polio,' says Ban, prasing Rotary International's support of UN goals

Global Movement Needed to Reverse Water Crisis

This year's  on 27 May in Seoul highlighted the progress being made:

  • Over the last 25 years, more than 2.5 billion people gained access to improved drinking water, and 2 billion who didn't have adequate sanitation now do.
  • Child deaths from water-related diseases dropped from 1.5 million to just over 600,000.
  • The UN Millennium Development Goals' target for clean drinking water was met five years ahead of schedule.

But for the 1.8 billion people whose drinking water remains contaminated and the 2.4 billion without access to proper sanitation, progress is still too slow, said Vanessa Tobin, director of and one of the event's main speakers.

MIRRORING THE POLIO ERADICATION MOVEMENT

"We need a movement," Tobin declared, saying it should follow Rotary's polio eradication model. "Polio was universal and everyone had one aim: eliminate every case in the world. We need to set a goal that by 2030 every child has safe water and sanitation for life.

"Water and sanitation must be at the top of each country's development agenda," she said.

Gary White, chief executive and co-founder of , agreed and told attendees that charity alone won't solve the global water crisis. White said that it would take five years and $1 trillion to provide and maintain safe water access for all, but international aid totals only $8 billion each year. His organization is making it possible for people in need to help pay for their own clean water and sanitation.

"People who live in poverty or are coming out of it in developing countries want to pay for water security, not just for practical purposes, but for social and financial purposes," White said.

His organization established , a microfinance program that offers loans to families in need of water connections or toilets. The program's repayment rates exceed 99 percent.

"Giving people the capital to ensure water security gives them the dignity they want and need," he added.

MATCHING EXPERTISE WITH ACTION

The water summit, the eighth convened by the , seeks to match industry expertise with Rotary service projects.

Francis Barram, a member of the Rotary Club of Centurion in South Africa, came to the water summit to find partners for a project to clean up sewage-filled rivers in Johannesburg.

"People here [at the water summit] are passionate about finding solutions for clean water. And more importantly, they know what they're doing," said Barram, who joined the Rotarian Action Group last year. "Our club found the need, and we can pull together the support, but we need the technical know-how. This event can help me find that."

Breakout sessions focused on sustainable strategies for getting clean water and sanitation in schools, partnerships, financing, climate change, and safe drinking water systems. Other speakers included Deuk-Mo Chung, director general of the Seoul Water Institute, and Sanjay Wijesekera, chief of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene for UNICEF.

- Ryan Hyland in www.rotary.org

Rotary opens its biggest international meeting ever - Korea JoongAng Daily

The curtain was raised on the 2016 Rotary International Seoul Convention on Sunday, and its opening ceremony was attended by the secretary general of the United Nations, the prime ministers of Korea and Sri Lanka - and even the late Paul Harris, who founded Rotary International, the largest civic outreach group, via hologram.

“Today, I want to speak to you about the invaluable partnership between Rotary International and the United Nations,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told the 50,000 Rotarians from 160 countries gathered at the Korea International Exhibition Center in Goyang, Gyeonggi. “Our common activities are saving lives and are based on a spirit of trust. My message is simple, based on four words: thank you very much.”

The UN chief emphasized the history of partnership between the two organizations.

“Our two organizations have a long productive history,” he said. “Rotarians even helped with the founding of the United Nations.” Ban cited Rotarians’ presence at the San Francisco conference in 1945 that led to the birth of the UN and the efforts of former Rotary International President Allen Albert in forming the UN.

Ban dwelled on one topic for more than a third of his 10-minute remarks: the eradication of polio, the signature initiative of Rotary International.

“The United Nations is proud to be a partner in ending this debilitating disease,” he said. “I congratulate Rotary International for helping to reduce polio by 99 percent. We have just one percent left. We have to do much more to eradicate polio from the earth.”

The audience responded with prolonged applause. Calling for further cooperation between the two organizations beyond their polio project, the UN secretary general told Rotarians that he “counts on” them to continue supporting the UN to “rise to challenges of our day” together.

The prime ministers of Korea and Sri Lanka also congratulated Rotary International on its centennial of progress and achievements.

“In order to solve the problems of this world, like poverty, diseases, terrorism and conflict, cooperation between countries, regions and civic groups worldwide is indispensable,” said Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn. “And the role of community service organizations like Rotary International is so important here.”

Hwang said the Korean government plans to support the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the public-private partnership between national governments led by Rotary International, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United Nations Children’s Fund.

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also celebrated the accomplishments of Rotary International.

“We do not have polio in Sri Lanka. We have not had it now for more than 20 years,” he said. “And the fact that it happened as it did was due in no small part to you here - to the work of Rotary, and the work of Rotarians at that time in Sri Lanka.

“You are able to go places where governments fear to tread, in a way that no one else can emulate,” he said. “We are glad to have Rotary in our country, for we have seen for ourselves that a community with Rotary, in fact, a country with Rotary, is better off, in every way, than one without.”

Paul Harris, founder of Rotary International, who passed away in 1947, also paid a visit to the convention in hologram form.

“Korea you say? I believe it’s my first time here,” said Paul Harris’s hologram. “This Rotary program of friendship and service, it certainly has succeeded way beyond the dreams of that first little group of ours in Chicago.”

Many Rotarians testified to the camaraderie and fellowship of being part of the Rotary community.

“If you wear your Rotary pin, and you get into trouble, and you ask if there is any fellow Rotarian, no matter where you are in the world, a Rotarian will always help,” said Melanie Sullivan, chief operating officer at Twin Cities Orthopedics in Oak Park Heights, Minnesota, and the president of her club in Minnesota. “It’s a community of people that have the same mission in life all over the world.

“Rotary is one of the best-kept secrets,” she added.

That was a phrase used by many Rotarians in describing their experience.

“You know, Rotary is something like a best-kept secret,” said Joyce Gunter, incoming district governor for District 6890 in Florida. Joyce met her husband Gary Gunter at a Rotary project in Costa Rica. 

Stepping onto the stage to the beat of Psy’s “Gangnam Style” during the opening ceremony, Rotary International President K.R. Ravindran was proud to say how different Rotary is from other charity-minded organizations.

“When I took this job 11 months ago, I was convinced that Rotary must be run like a business,” he said. “Our business is literacy, health, livelihood and hope. Our business is life itself. Our business is miracles.”

- Esther Chung [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr] in Korea JoongAng Daily

Sri Lankan Prime minister hails role played by Rotary International during war

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 Gazette

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's full speech at the Rotary International Convention

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