PDG Mark Doyle welcomes DG Anneas Balt as an honorory member of the E Club.
Polio took a hit at this year's Rotary convention in Sydney, Australia.
First there was the record-breaking climb across the Sydney Harbour Bridge that raised enough money to protect 240,000 kids from polio. On 30 May, two days before the official opening of the convention, 340 participants ascended the bridge, eclipsing the record previously held by Oprah Winfrey for most climbers on the bridge. Waving 278 flags, they also broke the Guinness World Record for most flags flown on a bridge.
Then it was announced that the World's Biggest Commercial, Rotary's public awareness campaign for polio eradication, set a Guinness World Record for largest photo awareness campaign. More than 100,000 people from 170 countries have uploaded their photos, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Bill Gates, Archie Panjabi, Jackie Chan, and many more.
But the biggest news was the $101 million pledged to polio eradication. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott opened the convention on 1 June with a commitment from his government of $100 million to the PolioPlus campaign. Two days later, Sir Emeka Offor, executive vice chair of Chrome Group, announced a $1 million gift to The Rotary Foundation to help end polio.
"Scores of my friends and classmates fell victim to this dreaded disease," said Sir Emeka, who serves as Rotary's PolioPlus ambassador in Nigeria. "As a young man I vowed that I would someday do something significant to end polio in Nigeria."
Nigerian business leader and philanthropist Sir Emeka Offor announced a $1 million gift to The Rotary Foundation for polio eradication efforts at the Rotary Convention in Sydney.
Sir Emeka, who is executive vice chair of the Chrome Group, has made contributions to Rotary's campaign to rid the world of this deadly disease totaling more than $3.1 million, including a $1 million gift he announced at the 2013 convention. He told the attendees at the third plenary session on Tuesday that his commitment to ending polio is a personal one.
"Scores of my friends and classmates fell victim to this dreaded disease," said Sir Emeka, a member of the Rotary Club of Awka GRA who serves as Rotary's PolioPlus ambassador in Nigeria. "As a young man I vowed that I would someday do something significant to end polio in Nigeria."
Sir Emeka told the crowd he recently opened a PolioPlus Ambassador's Office, at no cost to Rotary, in Abuja. The office serves as a hub for his ambassadorial activities and supports the work of the Nigeria PolioPlus Committee.
Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan are the only countries where polio has never been stopped.
Despite tremendous progress — only two documented cases of polio reported in the last 12 months — Offor says the country still faces unprecedented insecurity and inaccessibility in a number of northern states.
The statistics are staggering. Worldwide, 2.5 billion people have no improved sanitation facilities. More than 783 million people lack access to clean drinking water.
But the message at the World Water Summit held Friday in Sydney was encouraging: Rotary members and their clubs can bring down those numbers through collaborations and partnerships with the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, and governments.
"These are scary numbers," said Jenny Da Rin, assistant secretary for the Health and Environmental Safeguards branch of Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. "Reducing the numbers is a great challenge, but you are all here today because you are committed to playing our part in tackling these challenges. This is a wonderful forum for us to think about how we can do things better, think about how we can work together more effectively, and think about how we can get better results."
The water summit, the sixth convened by the Water & Sanitation Rotarian Action Group, aimed to match industry expert knowledge with Rotary-led projects. Brian Cook, a former Rotary district governor, talked about his district's initiatives with universities on water education in developing countries including Malaysia and India. Event organizers hope that participants took away a better understanding of how they can collaborate and partner with other organizations.
It may be the start of winter in Sydney, Australia, but things are heating up down under as more than 18,000 Rotary members from over 150 countries arrive for their biggest international event of the year, the Rotary Convention.
The four-day event, held 1-4 June, offers the perfect venue for our members, their families, and friends to experience the global reach of Rotary. Through workshops, special events, and social activities, attendees have the chance to discover and celebrate our members' diverse backgrounds and exchange ideas for making the world a better place.
"At a convention, for a few short days, we see a world where men and women from every corner of the globe come together to build peace, to serve others, and simply to enjoy one another's company," says Rotary President Ron Burton.
This year's convention highlights Rotary's progress in eradicating polio, providing clean water and improving sanitation, building peace, fighting poverty, and empowering our youth.
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