"The Last Day of the Convention"

Sunil K Zachariah reporting live from Toronto on the last day of the Convention

Today is the last day of the Toronto Convention. There is excitement in the Air Canada Centre. The charismatic Canadian Prime Minister is to address the Convention. This was a surprise not announced earlier.

There are many youngsters in the audience making it vibrant. Rotaract district and other alumni have given a unique flavour to this year's Convention. The compare of the convention, Brittany Arthur is a Rotaractor from Germany, and is doing a great job.

Justin Trudeau the charismatic Prime Minister of Canada said that wherever you go in Canada, Rotary means service. Rotary has proved that coming together we can do incredible things. He said “I want my children to grow up in a world without polio” "Supporting young people is the best investment you can make", said Trudeau. Canada is the fourth largest country donor for polio eradication. Canada gave USD 40 million for polio eradication initiatives this year. Prime Minister Trudeau accepted Rotary’s Polio Eradication Champion Award in recognition of Canada’s contributions to polio eradication.

The charismatic President Elect Barry Rassin spoke first about a transformative project which in the next Rotary year will bring water to every citizen of Haiti, a country which is acutely water starved. Speaking on his presidential theme ‘Be The Inspiration’, he said that the beginning of everything in  Rotary is inspiration to make the world a better place and to make the world better for our children. When Rotary members get inspired, we change lives, he said.

RIPN Mark Maloney on accepted the nomination to serve as RI President during the year 2019-2020.

TRF Chair Paul Netzel said that the end of polio will offer unlimited potential to change the world. Finish line of polio is now in sight. Only 11 polio cases have been reported this year. Chairman Paul also reported that TRF raised over $ 376 million this year till date. He said that Rotary Clubs, Rotary International and Rotary Foundation are three parts which coming together have the possibility to make a difference to any challenge.

Former Prime Minister of New Zealand and Former Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, Helen Clarke was in conversation with RI President Ian Resley. Helen said that gender equality is a human right and enormous impact can be made by providing education to women. She said Rotary is an important partner in the sustainable development goals with their focus on doing good and urged Rotarians to get together to work for environmental resilience. RI President Ian Riseley presented Helen Clark, with a Rotary award of honor.
Earlier this morning's plenary focussed on the sixth area of Rotary's focus - community and economic development. The speakers were all young, who inspired us with their personal stories of turmoil and success. All of them spoke of the Rotary changed their life, community and world.

Peace Fellow Marie-Paule Attema shared  her experience creating peace. According to her  the beautiful thing about Rotary is that it is an organization of individuals who strive to make a difference

Rotary Global Scholar Anja Nikolova shared the value of investing in global grants for studies. There has never been a more vibrant time to embrace environmental challenges as economic opportunities and vehicles for change. By investing in global grants, you aren’t investing in one life, you are contributing to a positive cascade effort and global communities, she assured.

Former Rotary Youth Exchange Jane Nelson from Kennedy School quoting former UN Sec. Gen Ban Ki Moon said that we're the first generation who can end poverty. Dr. Jane Nelson guided how the business community can make a difference in economic development. ''My year as a Rotary Youth Exchange Student was one of the greatest gifts and opportunities I have ever received. Simply put, Rotary changed the course of my life.''

Xavier Ramey, Artist, Activist, Communty Developer and Outspoken Lover of Humanity was glad to be a catalyst and supporter of more courageous and authentic relationships for peace building. He Challenged Rotarians to acknowledge privilege, and sit in the tension. "Acknowledge not only people's pain, but where it came from." He added and looks forward to more as we grow as Rotarians.

President Ian Riseley closed the 2018 Rotary Convention by asking that we all work to make a difference and be the inspiration. He also said that we work together in Rotary, because that’s how we achieve.

- Sunil K Zachariah reporting from Toronto on the last day of the Convention

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