Canadian Ambassador to Haiti Henri-Paul Normandin (left) welcomes Past District Governor Douglas Vincent and Past RI President Wilfrid J. Wilkinson Photo courtesy of Douglas Vincent
More than 200 Canadian Rotarians, Rotaractors, Interactors, and friends travelled to New York City for Rotary-UN Day on 5 November. The annual event highlights Rotarians’ contributions to the development of the United Nations, and the ways they continue to support UN goals and improve lives around the world.
The day before the event, several of us toured UN headquarters and were briefed on the organization’s history. We taped an interview in the United Nations TV studio with Past District Governor Bill Miller, moderator of Global Connections Television. Many people in our group also met with Gilles Rivard, Canadian ambassador to the United Nations, who discussed Canada’s role in international development. Rotarians, and all Canadians, are represented by a great team in New York.
Rotary-UN Day included several panels on health, water, and literacy. We heard a presentation on maternal and child health that explained how health education, rural economic development, and cultural factors affect this area of focus. In East Africa, Rotary and Aga Khan University have partnered to train health educators and provide nursing scholarships through packaged global grants under The Rotary Foundation’s Future Vision Plan.
We also heard about water, sanitation, and hygiene. Diarrheal diseases cause more than one million deaths per year and are the second-leading cause of death (after pneumonia) in children under five. A presentation on transforming a community in Kenya showed the impact that safe water can have on a highly populated region.
The Millennium Development Goals are a key focus at the UN. Both the goals and Rotary’s areas of focus aim to help others and give them hope for a better life in a better world.
I encourage you to join us 2-3 November for another great Rotary-UN Day experience.