Convention Opens, celebrating Rotary's Power to Realize Dreams
(June 2007) Salt Lake City — The Opening ceremony for the SLC convention was as spectacular as usual. They divide the session into different sessions in order to accommodate all the attendees. The session opened with a Maui Ceremony, featuring dancers and singers, as a tribute to outgoing Rotary International President, Bill Boyd of New Zealand.
They were followed by the Rotary International
Children's Choir in their native clothing. It was announced that:
The flag presentation of all the Rotary countries is a stirring and certainly inspirational event. Large projection screens display the young flag bearers as they present the flags in alphbetical order, with a global map showing that country's location. Special attention was given to Laos, the newest country in which a Rotary club may be found.
A year of traveling as Rotary International president has given William B. Boyd perspective on what makes projects successful. Both large-scale efforts, like eradicating polio, and smaller initiatives, like microcredit projects, start with a dream, he said at the convention's opening keynote yesterday, but it is dedication and hard work that make dreams reality.
Quoting Eleanor Roosevelt, Boyd said, "'The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.' But I think she should have gone further and said, 'and work for their dreams.'"
The strength of Rotary is in its ability to unite so many individuals from different parts of the world, giving club members a creative power unmatched in other organizations. "We talk blindly of 1.2 million Rotarians, but we're all individuals," said Boyd. "The strength of Rotary comes from each of us dreaming our own dreams, and, when you put it all together, you get the greatness and power of Rotary."
Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman Jr. welcomed more than 15,000 Rotarians from 147 countries to the biggest convention ever to be held in Salt Lake City and the first RI Convention in Utah since 1919.
Marked with international flair, the opening also featured Maori singers and dancers performing a sacred wero ceremony to honor Boyd, a New Zealander whose term as president ends this month. The group also performed a thunderous war dance of stomping feet as well as other traditional songs and dances. In addition, children marched onstage with flags from each Rotary country, and a choir of children wearing national dress from many countries sang.
Other entertainment included singer and native Utahn Donny Osmond, who jumped into the audience, dancing with attendees and signing autographs as he sang. Osmond, a native of Utah, got the crowd moving with a concert of many of his hits as an entertainer who has released 55 CDs in a career that has spanned over 30 years. He included Going Round in Circles, Bright Shining Day, You Are So Beautiful, and even the hit Osmond made at age 13, Puppy Love? All that take you back a few years?
RIP Bill's closing remarks were provided in a power point of Rotary programs around the world and exhibited many touching examples. It was announced by the Governor of Utah, that the RI convention was the largest convention ever held in Salt Lake City.
2007 - Salt Lake City, a Convention of Firsts
Salt Lake City — The 2007 RI Convention in Salt Lake City drew to a close 20 June, capping off a four-day celebration of the many faces of Rotary service, from peacemaking to grassroots projects to international friendship.
Calling it the "single most important thing you can do to ensure Rotary's second century," incoming RI President Wilfrid J. Wilkinson sent RI convention-goers home on Wednesday with a directive to "found new clubs wherever the soil is fertile."
"Without new members, nothing else matters," he said during the closing plenary. "It will only take a few decades for Rotary to disappear."
The largest convention ever to be held in Salt Lake City, the event drew more than 16,500 Rotarians from 147 nations, some from as far away as Katmandu, Nepal.
The first RI convention in Utah since 1919 was also the site of several other Rotary firsts: the Rotary Foundation's first-ever 100% Major Donor Club and the first Rotary World Peace Symposium, held just before the convention.
Peace was also a theme in the House of Friendship, where a 16x32 foot "Peace Wall," inspired by the fallen Berlin Wall, was erected. Attendees of all ages painted a kaleidoscope of colorful messages of peace on the wall and received friendship passports.
Inside the Salt Palace Convention Center, the House of Friendship provided a forum for fellowships, action groups, and project booths, while outside, the Rocky Mountains served as a scenic backdrop to the American western-themed convention that featured a rodeo, dances by Native Americans, and lots of homegrown hospitality.
Final plenary inspires Rotarians to serve
Salt Lake City — On the last day of the 2007 Rotary Convention, the plenary session showcased the variety of service opportunities Rotarians enjoy, from working on grassroots projects to serving at the highest levels of Rotary International's leadership.
A young woman from Turkey, Emine Yüzay, gave a moving speech highlighting how the results of Rotarians' service can expand and multiply. Five years ago, Yüzay, who was born without arms, was an illiterate 17-year-old. Then she took part in a Rotary-sponsored Concentrated Language Encounter program in her working-class neighborhood of Istanbul.
After learning to write with her feet, Yüzay now teaches other women to read and write, demonstrating the ripple effect that so many Rotary programs have. "I tried to do my best to pass what I had learned in CLE courses to other women," she said. "I have never felt so proud and confident in my entire life."
This spring, the Rotary Club of Istanbul arranged for Yüzay to receive prosthetic arms, which she is still learning to use. She said that she was astonished recently when she heard of a recent RI theme: Lend a Hand. "Now," she told the assembled Rotarians, "your hands are mine, and my hands are yours."
Vikram Sanghani of the Rotary Club of Rajkot Midtown, India, spoke about his club's decision to build a US$600,000 dam to provide clean water to 150,000 people living in poverty in his city. Admitting he had no idea how to go about building a dam, he said, "I think there is a saying, `Rotarians rush in where angels fear to tread.'" Despite an earthquake and other problems, the project was completed on time and on budget. The success of the project has also brought 50 new members into Sanghani's Rotary club.
Hyrum Smith, a member of the Rotary Club of Salt Lake City and co-founder of the consulting firm Franklin Covey, inspired Rotarians with his talk about what he called the abundance mentality. "When you can look in the mirror and say, I have sufficient for my needs, at that moment, you are wealthy," he said. Smith encouraged Rotarians to decide whether they have more than they need, and if so, to use the difference to do good in the world.
It was also an important day for Rotary's leadership, when President William B. Boyd and General Secretary Ed Futa presided over the election of the new RI officers. The highlight came when the voting delegates cast their ballots for Dong Kurn Lee of the Rotary Club of Seoul-Hangang, Seoul, Korea, for president of RI in 2008-09. Lee, who will be RI's first president from Korea, expressed his thanks and his confidence that 2007-08 will be an enjoyable and successful year.
"When I look around me here today, I see men and women from all countries, joined together in our desire for a better world through service and fellowship," Lee said. "I am humbled to have been asked to lead this great organization, and I promise to do my very best to live up to your confidence in me, with the help of all of you."
Also elected today were the RI directors for 2008-10, the district governors for 2008-2009, and the 2007-08 officers of the General Council of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland.
Ray Klinginsmith, chair of the 2008 Convention Committee, was on hand to invite Rotarians to join him next June in Los Angeles. He noted that more than 3,000 people had already registered at the L.A. convention booth, a new record for on-site registration.
Rotarians left the convention hall to head back to their communities with a new sense of purpose and inspiration for the year ahead.
is an organization of business and professional leaders who provide
humanitarian service and help to build goodwill and peace in the world.