Greetings from La Tzoumaz, Switzerland
We arrived in Geneva and enjoyed a day exploring the old town and shopping area. On a tour of the International area we saw the various UN Headquarter buildings as well as many embassies and NGO headquarters such as Red Cross. A fascinating city but smaller than expected. It has a population of about 200,000 but each day another 200,000 travel from France to work in Geneva. The French border is only 10 klms from the centre of tbe city.
We traveled by train along the beautiful shores of Lake Leman commonly called Lake Geneva by tourists to Riddes. Then by mini-bus to La Tzoumaz.
La Tzoumaz is a ski resort in the Swiss Alps, in the canton of Valais. It is part of the “Four Valleys” ski area, which consists of various ski resorts, including Verbier, Nendaz, Veysonnaz, La Tzoumaz, and Thyon.
We are here for one week of skiing and the snow is good.
Our Club President Elect Marilyn Roberts will be emailing all memberswith details of a meeting to be held on Zoom at the end of the month. Please give her support while I am enjoying my holiday.
Welcome to 2018. This week i wish to share the unique stories of three Rotarians from different countries and Clubs. These are just some of the stories of members of Rotary International that make you proud to belong to this wonderful service organisation.
Be a millennial in Rotary
Dominick Bonny, Rotary Club of Wenatchee North, Wash.
Rotary is weird. Rotarians are old, mostly. They sing songs and say the Pledge of Allegiance before meetings. They tell lame jokes.
But they also organize highway trash cleanups, blood drives, and literacy fairs. They raise money for students to study abroad, and they open their homes to foreign students studying here. They are fixated on eradicating polio. Yes, polio is still a thing.
I’m 32. I joined Rotary three years ago when Earl Tilly, a leader I respect in our community, invited me. At my first meeting, I didn’t see a lot of faces my age, but I found that I fit in well with the Rotary mindset of Service Above Self. I remember thinking, “Oh, wow. I’m home.” Earl has since become a mentor to me. He’s 83 and still plays tennis and bikes regularly. He was mayor of our town, then our state representative. I admire him and the way he has lived his life. I find that people in Rotary do a lot of good, but not for self-promotion. I really respect and want to emulate that.
I run a social media and marketing company. I manage web pages for our local newspaper, three school districts, and other organizations. Part of my job is to monitor comments from the public, which means I’m in a quagmire of social media trolls every day. People are just terrible to one another online. They say awful, malicious things. It’s a downer. For me, Rotary is a way to unplug from that. I think the path back to a more civil society is through our clubs. While social media is good for a lot of things, it’s not good for breaking down the walls we build between us. Rotary offers a neutral space where I can gather with other people, even those I may not see eye-to-eye with on every issue, and focus on what really matters – making the world a better place.
Being in Rotary hasn’t been a total honeymoon. I went through a period when I wondered if it was for me. After I joined, I took over running our social media and built a new website for our club. I also started promoting Rotary to my network, but it didn’t feel as though we were making any progress or any other young people were going to join. But I had made a commitment to show up, so I stuck with it. To volunteer for stuff. I’m glad I did. Our club is almost half younger people now. It has added a bit of urgency to our lunch meetings, since not everyone is retired anymore.
So what’s it like to be a millennial in Rotary? To most young people, Rotary is old-fashioned. For me, that’s what makes it cool. People in my peer group tend to isolate themselves. We are connected by technology, but not truly connected. Rotary is my antidote to that.
As told to Vanessa Glavinskas
Be the Justin Bieber of Korea
Julian Quintart, Rotary Youth Exchange, Korea, 2004-05
There was never any question that I would go on a Rotary Youth Exchange, because my whole family has been through that program. My mom went from Belgium to the United States in 1973, my older brother went to the States too, and my sister went to New Zealand. My parents always emphasized how important it is to travel and see the world from a new view.
When I told Rotary that I wanted to visit Korea, they were a little surprised. This was 2004, and for most Europeans, Korea was just the name of a country that you might find on some cheap gadget. But I had a classmate who was half Korean, and I got interested in the culture, the music, and this form of animation called manga. So I asked Rotary, and to my surprise they said yes, I could go. It was a bit like asking Santa Claus for a car. You never think it’s going to happen.
When I landed at the airport, there was a crowd of people jumping up and down with a big banner and a TV camera. I didn’t think it could be for me. I’m just some kid from Belgium. Then the cameraman came over to interview me. I told my friend back home, “Oh, I’m going to be a TV star here!” I was just joking, but later on this became true.
At that time, the only thing I knew how to say in Korean was, “Hello, I am a human. Hello, I am not a dog.” But I spent a lot of time talking to Koreans, who are very outgoing, and after six months I started to be fluent. A friend of mine was making a TV show about foreigners who travel the Korean countryside. He asked me to appear, because I was this young Belgian guy who could speak Korean. The show aired after I returned to Belgium, and it was a crazy success. There were hundreds of messages on the chat boards, and it was the No. 1 Google search. The producer called me and said, “You have to come back.”
I was just 18 and was supposed to go to university, but suddenly I had a chance to go back to a country I loved and be on TV. My parents were very supportive. They said, “Of course you have to do this. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime.”
I spent the next few years doing TV and movies in Korea. Then I learned how to be a DJ. I got a lot of offers to do TV again, but I always said no, because as a foreigner you always come off a bit like a clown. Then, a couple of years ago, I got a call about a show called Non-Summit, which looked at Korean life in a more serious way. It featured people from all over the world and discussed real issues, such as gay marriage or whether to allow a parent to move in with you. Each person discussed how an issue was dealt with in their own country.
The show was lighthearted, but it was also a chance for Koreans to talk about social issues, and it was a huge success. At that point, I experienced a totally different level of fame. I could not walk in the streets without getting mobbed. People were knocking on my door and taking pictures all the time. I remember one time we had a big event in Seoul, and the whole street was filled with screaming people. I felt like I was in a zombie movie, where you’re trying to get from Point A to Point B without getting eaten. It was scary. Honestly, it was like what Justin Bieber experiences.
For about a year, I did six shows every week, along with interviews and other appearances. It was an amazing experience. These days, I do a lot more charity work. I just finished cycling around Korea, raising money for local hospitals. I feel I was given a voice, and I want to use that voice for something good.
That comes back to Rotary, really, the philosophy that life is about helping other people. Sometimes that’s on a big scale, but sometimes it’s as simple as sending a student to a foreign country.
As told to Steve Almond
Walk 27,000 miles for peace
Danny Garcia, E-Club of District 7210
I first started walking back in 1996. I had gone through a divorce. I was so broken that I didn’t feel I had any life. I had this idea that I could walk for peace, and I think I was also looking for some kind of inner peace.
I took off from San Francisco, headed toward San Diego. That first day I walked 30 miles in the pouring rain. I was soaking wet and only had $48 in my pocket. No credit cards. No nothing. I came to a hotel in Half Moon Bay, and the manager was wondering what I was doing. I told him, “Well, I need a room, but I don’t have any money.” But he said, “Hey, it’s OK. You can stay here as long as you need to.” That act of kindness really launched my 20 years of walking.
Then a friend of mine called the Marines, because I’m a former Marine, and they said, “Don’t go anywhere. We’re coming.” And three Humvees ended up being my escort vehicles.
I spent three months walking across the United States. The media picked up on the story, and I got a lot of support. I’ve now done walks on six continents. What has kept me going is the love and support of the people I’ve met. That’s how I got involved with Rotary, because we’re really doing the same work, pushing to help those in need, pushing for charity and kindness and cultural exchange. Rotarians are special people. They’re like a giant family. And they don’t just talk, they do. That’s what I love about them.
And I need the support, because it can be dangerous out there. I’ve been clipped by cars. The backblast from semitrailers can literally knock you off the side of the road. I’ve encountered mudslides and sandstorms and lightning and rattlesnakes. I remember walking in a remote area in Florida, and I looked up and saw a tornado coming straight at me. Things were being tossed up in the air. I had to run for my life. Another time, I saw a pack of wild dogs coming at me. I didn’t have time to get to my escort vehicle, and you can’t assume a position of fear anyway. So I took my walking stick and I faced them down.
I’ve walked in all kinds of weather. I once walked in snow up to my knees. I was wearing my pack and I fell on my face, and the pack was weighing me down. And I’ll tell you, I wanted to quit. But I didn’t quit, because I heard this voice inside me that said, “Get up and walk.” And then off in the distance I saw a French Red Cross vehicle coming to be my escort. Those are the moments that I know this is a calling for me.
I’m 72 years old now, and I thought my walking days were pretty much over. I was living in Florida, trying to downsize and retire and enjoy the sun. But when I asked what I was supposed to do with my life now, I knew the answer: I had to start walking again. I’m in Jerusalem now. I don’t know where exactly I’ll go from here. The way I travel is that I take one step at a time. But I do know this part of the world is in need of peace.
I don’t know what’s next. Actually, I do have one idea. I haven’t told anyone else, but I’d really love to go to the Vatican, and I’d like to ask the pope to walk with me. Just a short walk, even, where we can talk and pray together. Does that sound crazy? Maybe so. But I’ve seen a lot of miracles out here.
As told to Steve Almond
Best wishes to all for a happy and prosperous 2018.
Remember you still have time to register for the International Convention to be held 23rd to 27th June 2018 in Toronto, Canada. For further details and booking please open the link below:
Merry Christmas to All
I would like to wish all members a safe and merry Christmas. Enjoy your family and your holiday break.
Carolyn and I will be overseas from Wednesday 10th January until Sunday 11th March 2018. I will try to attend meetings during our time away but with time differences and unknown Wifi connectivity our President Elect Marilyn with the assistance of Secretary Debbie Schache, will be conducting the meetings twice per month.
Little Paths Australia – Mwanza, Tanzania
RAWCS Project 68 of 2009-10
Please consider donating to Little Paths, Mwanza, Tanzania, one of our Club projects below:
This Christmas period, we are aiming to raise $10,000 to help us to keep kids in school, off the streets and safely cared for by their families, in Tanzania. We simply insist and we hope you will too – that no child should ever leave their family looking for the opportunity to survive extreme poverty, this Christmas or any other.
Help us fight poverty by contributing a gift towards educational scholarships and family supports.
Raising $10,000 this Christmas period, will help us to continue our fight for safety, family and educated futures, to improve vulnerable lives.
Our next meeting will be a social meeting on Wednesday 20th December at 7.30pm Eastern Daylight Saving Time. Also we will induct a new member – Monica Vaughan and announce another award.
If you are not a member and wish to attend please notify – [email protected]
I found the article below on how to use social media more effectively. Applying some of these principles could assist our Club as we utilize this medium more to get our message out to the public.
It provides some useful information to help you to create and publish your social media to better effect.
Thanks to all who attended last week’s meeting. It was well attended and it was great to have Rotarian Steve Marlor from the Rotary Club of Drummoyne in Sydney, NSW join us for the meeting.
Our next meeting will be a social meeting on Wednesday 20th December at 7.00pm Eastern Daylight Saving Time. Also we will induct a new member – Monica Vaughan.
If you are not a member and wish to attend please notify – [email protected]
You may not be aware but I am a member of the Rotarian Action Group Against Slavery (RAGAS). All Rotarians are welcome to join. This is topical because the Australian Government is soon to introduce new legislation to target modern slavery in Australia. The article below explains some of our goals.
Education breaks the cycle of modern slavery
The Rotarian Action Group Against Slavery (RAGAS) has a strategy for fighting this horrible problem, working at the local level.
“It’s this Rotarian attitude – you give them a problem and instead of throwing their hands up in dismay, they start chipping away at it piece by piece,” says Carol Hart Metzker, a member of the action group. “Maybe slavery won’t be solved in my lifetime, but in two more years, we’re going to have a whole hamlet free.”
In a village in northeastern India, the action group is tackling the problem of debt bondage. With the help of 13 clubs, a district grant through the Rotary Club of Binghamton, New York, USA, and other sources, the action group is providing $36,000 toward the work of Schools4Freedom, a project of the organization Voices4Freedom. Schools4Freedom works with local partner organization Manav Sansadhan Evam Mahila Vikas Sansthan (MSEMVS) to battle debt bondage.
The RAGAS project will support the efforts in one of those villages for three years. The name of the village, which is in the Uttar Pradesh state, is kept secret to protect the villagers and aid workers.
Poverty, illiteracy, innumeracy, and natural disasters that destroy crops or homes can leave villagers vulnerable to debt bondage in rural villages.
“When people don’t have enough to eat, and they barely have the ability to keep a roof over their head and their family quite literally alive, they will often turn to whatever means are possible for survival,” Metzker says.
Families may seek an arrangement with a business owner, who asks them to sign a contract that they can’t read and therefore can’t understand, and they inadvertently trade their freedom for survival, she says.
“The slaveholder creates a scheme such that the interest is more than the family ever makes, so no money really changes hands, and the family gets further and further into debt,” Metzker says. “That contract is never paid off.”
The slaveholder creates a scheme such that the interest is more than the family ever makes, so no money really changes hands, and the family gets further and further into debt. That contract is never paid off.
Carol Hart Metzker
Rotarian Action Group Against Slavery
Of the village’s 400 residents, 132 are living in debt bondage, enslaved in the slaveholder’s brick kilns, farm, or construction projects, she says. “The others are at risk because they, too, are in abject poverty.”
Hundreds of thousands of people in Uttar Pradesh and the neighboring state of Bihar are working in forced labor in industries including agriculture, domestic servitude, commercial sex, stone quarries, or brick kilns, says Bhanuja Sharan Lal, director of MSEMVS.
The problem is exacerbated by inaction on anti-slavery laws, caste discrimination, discrimination and violence against women, lack of effective protection for children, lack of training of front-line officials, and corruption, Lal says.
“Businesses and landlords, mostly in the informal sector, face no effective sanctions for holding and using people in forced labor,” he says. “The status quo survives because in many industries the business model relies on debt bondage as a means to control workers.”
The Schools4Freedom project establishes a school, including funding for two teachers. Children receive school supplies and three years of hot lunches. The village gets a computer to document the project. A solar light is installed in the village to help protect children from snakebites and help prevent sexual assault against women. Women are trained in a trade.
“What’s so amazing about Schools4Freedom is that one removes all of these vulnerabilities,” Metzker says. “You strengthen the people and then you teach them that they have basic rights so that they can go and, in a sense, demand that freedom themselves.”
Funds also pay for a simple school structure of brick pillars with a corrugated tin roof. It keeps the extreme heat and rain at bay, “but it’s not such an amazing building that someone can take it over,” she says. “It’s not so valuable that a slaveholder would burn it down to stop the process.”
Most important, the project pays for two front-line workers who are local and highly specialized in educating the villagers. The workers teach them that they have basic human rights such as freedom and access to government services – and all of this is done quietly at first, Metzker says.
“You have to know how to do it, when to do it, the safe way to do it so that the front-line workers themselves and the villagers don’t take the brunt of a slaveholder’s anger,” she says. “We can’t, as Rotarians, do that job.”
The school structure is usually the first sign to the slaveholders that something may be happening, and they may ridicule the children for getting an education, trying to convince them that it’s pointless.
“Does the slaveholder think about where that’s going in two or three years? The writing is on the wall,” Metzker says.
Sometimes slaveholders, not wanting to lose the labor, will create employment arrangements with the villagers. Other times, slaveholders become violent and the situation requires legal action, she says.
The three-year process ensures time for the entire village to see that it is in a position of strength.
Additionally, liberated villages are connected to a network of other freed villages, to continue supporting one another, says Peggy Callahan, co-founder of Voices4Freedom.
The problem of debt bondage is insidious because it can entrap multiple generations. But with the project efforts, “not only will these people be free and educated and able to build a life of dignity, but their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be born in freedom,” Callahan says.
Metzker, who is a member of the Rotary E-Club of One World D5240, became involved in anti-slavery efforts after a National Immunization Day trip to India in 2004, during which she visited a center for children who had been freed from slavery. She went on to write the book Facing the Monster: How One Person Can Fight Child Slavery and now works as a consultant to the Salvation Army’s New Day to Stop Trafficking program. She received Rotary’s Service Above Self Award in 2009-10.
“Someday, there is going to be such a huge difference because we realized there really is something you can do,” she says. “And we did it.”
This is another Rotary Action Group that does great work.
By the Water & Sanitation Rotarian Action Group (WASRAG)
Today, 1.8 billion people use a source of drinking water contaminated with feces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio. In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly officially designated 22 March as World Water Day. This annual day is coordinated by UN-Water in collaboration with governments and partners to tackle the water crisis.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, launched in 2015, include a target to ensure everyone has access to safe water by 2030, making water a key issue in the fight to eradicate extreme poverty.
In celebration of World Water Day 2018, the Water & Sanitation Rotarian Action Group (WASRAG) is encouraging Rotary clubs throughout the world to consider adopting a river clean-up or similar project in or near their community. Since the time of year to best implement these types of projects varies from region to region, your project can take place at any time leading up to World Water Day, but we will celebrate and promote your projects as part of World Water Day activities.
Don’t know where to start? Contact your local conservation authority (if there is one) and they can point you to areas in your community where the need is most critical and alert you to environmentally sensitive issues. Here are a few types of hands on projects your club can take on:
- Cleaning up debris along a river or stream, and recycling qualified items
- Planting trees and native plants along the water
- Promoting safe and organic alternatives for lawn and garden fertilizers
- Creating awareness about invasive water species
- Partnering with local conservation and water protection NGOs on projects
- Encouraging slow speeds of boats and other water toys
- Planting a rain garden
- Creating awareness about not dumping into storm drains
- Promoting use of non-toxic tackle for fishing
We also encourage you to educate your community on river clean-up projects and promote the benefits through programs such as:
- Hosting an essay contests on why rivers need to be kept clean
- Educating others on social and digital media
- Organizing club programs about the benefits of clean water
- Hosting friendly club project competitions
- Participating in community events to promote Rotary’s involvement in World Water Day: Chamber of Commerce activities, local conservation events, etc.
Enter in our competition for a chance to win!
Submit a brief description of your project, including what you’ve done, the target audience and the expected impact. Remember to tell us your district number and club name as well as your name, email address and phone number. Please send all entries to [email protected].
- DEADLINE: May 1st, 2018
- AWARDS: Two outstanding projects (the most impactful and the most innovative) will be selected for a USD $500 award. Winners will be notified by May 31st, 2018. The awards will be presented at WASRAG’s Annual General Meeting on Saturday June 23rd, 2018 in Toronto, Canada.
We encourage you to promote your project during club meetings leading up to World Water Day and be sure to add them to Rotary Showcase. WASRAG will also promote select projects in our newsletter, website, and on social media. Take action and join our World Water Day Challenge!
The next meeting of our E-Club will be held on ZOOM, next Wednesday 6th December at 7.00pm Eastern Daylight Time or 6.00pm Eastern Standard Time.
The following meeting will be a social meeting on Wednesday 20th December at 7.00pm Eastern Daylight Saving Time.
If you are not a member and wish to attend please notify – [email protected]
During November a number of members have donated to The Rotary Foundation (TRF). Thank you to those members and I encourage all who haven’t given yet to consider doing so. Our Treasurer will forward the donations to TRF, early in the new year so you still have time to make your donations.
You will find details of how to make your donation below.
EFT Payments please make out to:
Account Name: The Rotary E-Club of District 9700 – Service/Projects,
Reference – Name plus ‘TRF’
BSB: 032769 Account: 697413
Cheque Payments by post make out to: Rotary E-Club of District 9700-Serving Humanity
Reference – ‘TRF and your name’, and mail to:
Rotary E-Club of District 9700-Serving Humanity,
32 High St (PO Box 25), YACKANDANDAH, VIC 3749
The article below explains some of the areas that our Foundation supports with your donation.
GIVE THE GIFT OF ROTARY
For more than 100 years, The Rotary Foundation has been supporting Rotarians’ work to create sustainable solutions to our world’s most pressing needs. But there is still much to do, and we need your help.
Rotary gives in countless ways, focusing our service efforts in six areas: promoting peace, fighting disease, providing clean water, saving mothers and children, supporting education, and growing local economies. We’re also working hard to end polio once and for all.
Give the gift of Rotary today and be a part of the positive change Rotarians are making in your community and around the world. Every gift makes a difference.
What your gift supports
$10 mosquito bed net
Bed nets provide a safe, peaceful night’s rest in countries like Uganda, where malaria is a major health concern.
$15 polio vaccines
Polio is still a crippling threat to children in Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. A gift of just $15 can protect children for life.
$50 water filter
In rural Guatemala, deadly waterborne diseases are common. Personal water filters fill the need for clean water.
$85 business classes
In the United States, business classes teach low-income entrepreneurs the skills they need to be successful.
$100 sewing machine
With a sewing machine, a microloan, and some training from Rotary, entrepreneurs can turn their sewing skills into a thriving business.
$200 medical equipment
Newborns start their lives healthy when hospitals have up-to-date equipment to care for babies in the first moments of their lives.
$500 anti-bullying campaign
No child should live in fear of being bullied. Your gift helps communities create a safe and positive atmosphere where children can thrive.
$1,000 conflict resolution training
When secondary school students learn to resolve conflict, they can build a more peaceful and secure future for themselves and their communities.
$2,650 irrigation system
In areas where food security is a concern, irrigation systems give farmers a reliable and efficient water source so they can grow crops and provide food for the community.
Your gift supports projects like those described here but may not purchase the specific items listed.
Promote the Give the Gift of Rotary campaign by linking to this page on your website and social media pages. You can also distribute our promotional flier at club meetings and community events.
By Athili Sapriina, 2013-2014 Rotary Peace Fellow at the University of Queensland, Australia
I first became aware of Rotary Peace Fellowships during a trip to the Rotary Peace Center at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, US, in 2008. I had previously attended the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York City and over the years witnessed an increased involvement of Rotary with indigenous peoples issues. I am honored to be the first Naga to be awarded a Rotary Peace Fellowship.
The three million Nagas are indigenous peoples of the mountainous frontier between India and Burma. Since the end of British colonialism, Nagas have fiercely defended their independence resulting in the death of thousands — Indians, Burmese and Nagas.
The peace fellowship gives me a chance to build on current peace initiatives to resolve one of the longest running disputes in the world. Nagas seek the reunification of their homeland, which is divided between India and Burma. Within India, Nagas are further segregated into four states reducing them to minorities in their own land.
In 1994, I participated in the first World’s Indigenous Peoples Day held at the YMCA in New Delhi, India. Since then, globally there has been major advancements through the establishment of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, an Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the appointment of a Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples.
Working toward peace necessitates continuous dialogue. I find it fascinating that indigenous leaders, support groups, and national governments continue to engage on these issues even where agreement is lacking on how the UN declarations apply. For example, some states do not acknowledge they have indigenous peoples within their territories, and therefore do not recognize a responsibility under the declaration. Achieving peace, understanding, and justice is a work in progress.
Still, in September, the first World Conference on Indigenous Peoples is expected to reiterate the important and continuing role of the UN in promoting and protecting the rights of indigenous peoples.
As a print journalist, I plan to use my skills to work for peace, justice, and greater tolerance, while branching out into radio and current media platforms. My peace fellowship has increased my capacity to contribute meaningfully to this important issue.
International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is 9 August. Watch a live webcast of the commemoration at the UN on 8 August and learn more about how you can support the Rotary Peace Centers program.
MEETING THIS WEEK
We will hold a Social Meeting of our Club this next Wednesday, 22nd November at 7.00pm Eastern Summer Daylight Time (NSW) or 6.00pm Eastern Standard Time (QLD). We will discuss our KIVA loans and our badges, brochure, business cards and banner.
Be prepared to tell us about you last couple of weeks and anything that inspired you.
If any non-member wishes to attend please contact me with your email address so that you get a link to our ZOOM meeting. – [email protected]
Below is more about the Peace day in Geneva on 11th November.
‘Peace needs to be lived’
Rotary Day at the United Nations pushes peace from concept to reality
On the 99th anniversary of the end of World War I, more than 1,200 people gathered in Geneva, Switzerland, for Rotary Day at the United Nations.
Representing 87 countries, they convened on Saturday, 11 November, at the Palais des Nations, originally the home of the League of Nations, and dedicated themselves to the theme introduced by Rotary President Ian H. S. Riseley: “Peace: Making a Difference.”
“The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace have always been among Rotary’s primary goals,” said Riseley. “It is past time for all of us to recognize the potential of all of our Rotary service to build peace, and approach that service with peacebuilding in mind.”
For the first time in its 13-year history, Rotary Day at the UN was held outside of New York.
Rotary Day concluded Geneva Peace Week, during which John Hewko, general secretary of Rotary International, noted the “close and longstanding ties between Rotary and the UN in (their) mutual pursuit of peace and international understanding.”
Rotary members “can transform a concept like peace to a reality through service,” said Ed Futa, dean of the Rotary Representatives to the United Nations. “Peace needs to be lived rather than preached.”
During a Rotary Day highlight, Hewko introduced Rotary’s 2017 People of Action: Champions of Peace. He praised them as “an embodiment of the range and impact of our organization’s work,” and saluted them for providing “a roadmap for what more peaceful, resilient societies look like.”
Rotary honored six individuals, who each made brief remarks. They were:
Dr. Michel Zaffran, the director of polio eradication at the World Health Organization, provided an update on efforts to eradicate polio. They noted the tremendous progress made by Rotary, WHO, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and other partners in eliminating 99 percent of all global incidences of polio.
Returning the focus to peace, Zaffran said: “This same international relationship (that’s eradicating polio),” he said, “can be used to achieve world peace.”
Zaffran was joined Her Excellency Mitsuko Shino, the deputy permanent representative of Japan to the international organizations in Geneva and co-chair of Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s Polio Partners Group.
In his keynote address, Riseley made a similar observation. “The work of polio eradication, has taught us . . . that when you have enough people working together, when you understand the problems and the processes, when you combine and leverage your resources, when you set a plan and set your targets — you can indeed move mountains,” he said. “And the need for action, and cooperation, is greater now than ever before.”
- Watch the opening session of Rotary UN Day including remarks by the 2017 People of Action: Champions of Peace.