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
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
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!
Trustee Chair 2016 - 17
- Kalyan Banerjee, Trustee Chair 2016 - 17
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