2008-09 Rotary International President, Dong Kurn Lee

Lee is choice for 2008-09 R. I. President

11 September 2006

Dong Kurn Lee, a Rotary Foundation trustee and a member of the Rotary Club of Seoul Hangang, Seoul, Korea, is the selection of the Nominating Committee for President of Rotary International in 2008-09. He will become the president-nominee on 1 December if there are no challenging candidates.

Lee is chair of the Bubang Co. Ltd. and Bubang Techron Co. Ltd. manufacturing companies in Seoul and formerly served as a trustee of the Bank of Seoul. In 2005, he was appointed an international goodwill ambassador by the president of Korea.

Lee has also served as honorary consul to the Italian consulate in Korea since 1994 and was awarded the Order of Industrial Merit by the Korean government. He and his wife, Young Ja, have two sons and two daughters.

A Rotarian since 1971, Lee has served RI as a director, treasurer, district governor, training leader, regional Rotary Foundation coordinator, and membership task force coordinator in Asia. He began his tenure on the Foundation’s Board of Trustees in 2003-04 and is a recipient of the Foundation’s Citation for Meritorious Service.

In January of 2006, the calendar of National Immunization Days in India opened with a massive campaign aimed at taking the oral polio vaccine to 75 million children in 11 states, including Delhi, the federal capital. "Within the next six months, India could be polio-free, a major global milestone," Rotary Foundation Trustee Dong-Kurn Lee said in brief statements at immunization launch events.

Lee had flown in from Seoul, Korea, to join thousands of local Rotarians, as well as over 80 international Rotarians, at the crucial Subnational Immunization Day (SNID). He attended an official SNID kickoff by Delhi's chief minister Sheila Dikshit on 14 January. The following day, he traveled to Bihar, a polio-endemic state.

There is a consensus among polio eradication partners that vanquishing the disease in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the two states with most of the cases of polio infections reported in 2005, is key to protecting children in India and the South Asia subcontinent.

Lee's participation underscored Rotary International's commitment to the effort to banish the lingering scourge of polio from the nation of more than a billion people.

Voicing well-founded fears of an epidemic spreading from just one polio-endemic country to reinfect the world, Lee told Seoul-based Korea Times, "Eradicating polio cannot be achieved without help from all over the world, because although Korea or the U.S. is polio-free, it [polio] spreads right away if a nearby country is not."

In the days and weeks leading to the immunization day, Rotarians supported advocacy, mobilization, and publicity efforts. Religious leaders, including those with compelling personal stories of offspring crippled by polio, were enlisted to help reach out to communities where many parents refuse to have their children immunized.

In 2008 Rotaract will hold its international meetings. It takes place every three year. In 2008 this meeting will be hosted in Korea. Hopefully, Dong Kurn Lee will find the time to visit this important Rotaract meeting in order to show the importance of Rotaract within the Rotary family.

The nominating committee members for Rotary International President 2008-09 were Samuel L. Greene (chair), USA; John F. Germ (secretary), USA; Robert O. Brickman, USA; Lynmar Brock Jr., USA; Peter Bundgaard, Denmark; John J. Eberhard, Canada; Neville F. Hackett, England; Peter Krön, Austria; Umberto Laffi, Italy; Yoshikasu Minamisono, Japan; Samuel A. Okudzeto, Ghana; Luiz Coelho de Oliveira, Brazil; John Michael Pinson, USA; J. David Roper, USA; M.K. Panduranga Setty, India; Sakuji Tanaka, Japan; and John G. Thorne, Australia.

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