Rotary International with 1.4 Million members, is spread in 200+ countries. Its corporate program is Polio Eradication where Rotary has spent
$2 Billion directly and helped raise 10 times the amount from various Governments globally.
Looking back at 2022, the most prestigious event in the calendar of Rotary International is the Annual Rotary International Convention at Houston which was held after a gap of two years. 12,000 plus Rotarians from 125+ countries participated.
Congratulations Rotarians, “for coming forward to make the planet a better place.” – PM Narendra Modi
The year’s convention had a scintillating Indian flavor, for two reasons. Firstly, Rotary International was globally headed by an Indian, Shri Shekhar Mehta, for 2021-22. Secondly, after a 2-years gap due to the pandemic, the Annual global gathering of Rotarians finally happened. Three Indian stars who held center-stage at this Convention included India’s Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Indian Nobel Laureate Shri Kailash Satyarthi, and Rotary International President Shri Shekhar Mehta.
The inaugural session of the Convention got to was a great start, with Prime Minister Modi addressing the gathering through his video speech. He drew several parallels between Rotary’s core principles and goals in India, which has a global impact.
He explained that when the Covid pandemic hit us, “people thought India with its large population would not be that successful, but India proved them wrong, we administered two billion doses of Covid vaccine”. Drawing another parallel between Rotary’s ethos of Service Above Self and traditional Indian cultural ethos, Shri Modi said, “We are the land of the Buddha, Vivekananda, and Mahatma Gandhi who showed by virtue of their action, what living for others really means”. Complimenting Rotary for its excellent work towards water& sanitation, Shri Modi highlighted that “the Swachh Bharat Mission in five years achieved near-total sanitation coverage.”
He added that “Rotarians are successful in their own field, yet have not restricted themselves to working towards making our planet better, a true mix of success and service.”
The other Indian who touched the hearts of Rotarians at the Convention, was Indian Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, also the Keynote Speaker. His examples from his life-long struggle to combat child slavery across the world & free-up millions of marginalized children, received a standing ovation.
In recognition of his decades-long work to ending child labor, he has been conferred the Rotary Award of Honour. Earlier winners of the coveted Award, include Pranab Mukherjee, Queen Elizabeth II, Bill Gates, WHO, etc. In his acceptance speech, Shri Satyarthi said: “I thank the 1.4 million members of Rotary International for recognizing the need for a free and safe childhood for all. It is only with the support and commitment of all aspects of society that we will finally end child labor”.
Rotary International President Shri Shekhar Mehta, rounded off his Presidential Convention with great style & grace. He eloquently enumerated the huge quantum of service rendered by Rotary globally. Under his global leadership in 2021-22, Rotary International was propelled to greater heights.
Amidst a thunderous applause RI President Shekhar Mehta, at the opening session recounted: “We have grown hugely across the world, resulting in a hard stop to our declining membership”.
Rotary has taken big strides in basic education and literacy in India. The literacy program in India during the pandemic brought e-learning education to the homes of millions of children. Our organization’s true potential is related to our initiative of Empowering Girls. Rotary has commenced this charge toward gender equality, and its menstrual hygiene management, skill development, and other programs are gathering momentum in Africa and Asia.
Rotary had also taken on the great challenge of protecting the environment. It participated in COP26, the climate change summit in Scotland, attended by 100+ heads of state. Rotary is now poised to work in 10 countries to conserve mangroves, a move which will protect Planet Earth in the coastlines. Finally, an important update on the Rotary Flag ship Polio project. “The success in Polio Eradication is 99.99% with just a few cases reported from Pakistan and Afghanistan. Through our polio program, we saved 19 million lives in the last 3 decades. Thus Rotarians are truly the harbingers of peace”.
Giving credit to Rotarians and Rotaractors globally for the year’s achievements, Shri Mehta said, “What a wonderful year it has been for Rotary. You, my dear changemakers, have lived up to the highest aspirations of ‘grow more, do more’. I am proud to travel and meet over 30 heads of state across the globe. As we met the various country heads, I could discuss with them the partnership of Rotary with their governments, which they welcomed wholeheartedly. We made promises and now we are fulfilling those promises”.
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