R. I. President & Trustee's Theme & Message

RI President's Message - October 2015

Last month, after confirming a full year without a single case of wild poliovirus, Nigeria was removed from the list of the world's polio-endemic countries. It was the last polio-endemic country in Africa. Today, only two countries – Afghanistan and Pakistan – harbor the world's final reservoir of endemic poliovirus. As this issue of The Rotarian goes to press, global cases of polio in 2015 number only a few dozen.

The scale of this achievement can hardly be overstated. Polio has existed for millennia; it has plagued humanity since our earliest civilizations. Today, because of Rotary's work and that of our partners, the end is in sight. We are counting down not in years, but in months.

And yet, our success is as fragile as it is monumental. We are moving forward, slowly, steadily, inexorably – thanks to colossal efforts that never cease. We continue to vaccinate hundreds of millions of children in vast synchronized campaigns; we constantly monitor environments to prevent new outbreaks. The sheer scale of the effort – the coordination, the cost, and the commitment – boggles the mind.
Some ask why such high levels of immunization and surveillance are still needed to combat a disease that is almost gone. The answer is simple: It is the only way forward. If we did anything less – if we allowed the virus any quarter – years of work would be undone. We know too well how easily polio could spread again. We know how quickly our decades of progress could be lost. And this is why the months ahead are so tremendously important. We need your voice – to raise awareness, to raise funds, and to keep the momentum going. We need your strength to help fight this war until we have won.

On 24 October, we mark World Polio Day. I hope that on that day, all of you will take part in some way in our work to eradicate polio. I know that many of you intend to publicize this event on the club or district level; for those who have not yet made plans, there are still many ways to participate. Visit endpolionow.org for ideas, tools, sample press releases, and ways to donate. You'll also find the link to our livestream event; be sure to join in, and share it on social media.

This war of ours – which started as a war against polio but is also a war against hatred, against ignorance, against fear – this war will be won. It will be won soon. And when it is won, all of Rotary will have a story to tell – to the children, and the grandchildren, who will never see a leg brace or an iron lung, or know a world with polio in it.

Whether you are a Rotarian in Kano or Peshawar or Swat, in Seoul or Madrid or Chicago – you are a part of this story. Your part in it is one that only you can write. I ask you all to write it well – so that the story you will one day tell is one of which you will be proud.
K R Ravindran. President 2015 - 16



Trustee Chair's Message - October 2015

The 2016-17 Rotary year will be the centennial year for The Rotary Foundation, which started at the 1917 Rotary convention in Atlanta. This issue of The Rotarian magazine is filled with information about the exciting 2016 convention to be held in Seoul, 28 May-1 June – and part of the excitement is due to the kickoff activities for the Foundation's centennial celebration.

The Foundation has a Centennial Celebration Committee, which is chaired by Past Trustee Stephanie Urchick, and the committee has comprehensive plans for a full year of celebratory events, which will culminate in a giant celebration at the 2017 Rotary convention in Atlanta. The Foundation trustees, Rotary International directors, and Rotary staff members are all committed to a successful recognition of the Foundation's anniversary because of the Foundation's significant role in helping our clubs and districts to conduct service projects around the world. The Rotary Foundation clearly has been a tremendous force for Doing Good in the World!

And as we contemplate our high-level plans for the centennial, we once more pause to recognize and appreciate that the totality of what happens in our clubs and districts is far bigger and longer-lasting than what happens in Evanston and at the conventions. As a result, the true success of the centennial celebration will depend on the quality and quantity of the celebratory events in our clubs and districts. The big question is whether our Rotarians around the globe will embrace the Foundation's centennial and undertake their own centennial projects and celebrations. So please do your part to stimulate the interest and involvement of your club.

The Rotary Foundation has been highly successful in assisting our clubs and districts to promote international understanding, goodwill, and peace in the world – and therefore, it is appropriate that all of our clubs and districts should participate in the centennial celebration. As usual in Rotary, there is no prescribed way in which the clubs and districts should join the celebration, and I hope our clubs and districts will be as creative in their celebratory activities as they have been in their myriad humanitarian projects throughout the years. This is the right time for all of us to express our appreciation for The Rotary Foundation!


Kalyan Banerjee
Trustee Chair 2016 - 17


- Kalyan Banerjee, Trustee Chair 2016 - 17

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