RI president addresses UN forum
RI President Dong Kurn Lee addresses government and civic leaders during a 25 September forum convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in New York. Photo courtesy of the UN Photo Library
RI President Dong Kurn Lee praised the 20-year partnership between Rotary and the United Nations in fighting polio during a 25 September forum convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
At the forum in New York, attended by top government and civic leaders, Lee reaffirmed Rotary's commitment to working with the UN to eradicate polio and build a healthier, more peaceful world.
"We have brought the world closer to the end of a disease and to the achievement of the fourth Millennium Development Goal: reducing child mortality," Lee said in a speech during a breakout session on health and education. "We have created partnerships that will endure and will yield benefits far beyond the elimination of one disease."
Lee and other RI leaders spent four days in New York in September participating in several forums, convened to assess progress made toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals adopted by world leaders in 2000.
The forum brought together a broad coalition of government leaders, philanthropists, and development agencies who recommitted to slashing poverty, hunger, and disease by 2015.
Speakers included Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair Bill Gates, UNESCO Director-General Kiochiro Matsuura, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, and other philanthropists and government leaders.
"Rotary's agenda addresses all of the millennium goals: health, hunger, cleaner environment, and education," says Sylvan Barnet, RI representative to the United Nations. "This event was a useful way to promote Rotary to different world leaders and organizations."
RI General Secretary Ed Futa said the meeting he attended was a high-powered event.
"The thing that impressed me the most was that everyone -- heads of state and CEOs -- recognized Rotary International and the work we are doing," Futa said.
Other events during the week included:
Read about the upcoming RI-UN Day on 8 November
- A White House symposium on global literacy on 22 September, attended by RI Vice President Monty Audenart and hosted by U.S. First Lady Laura Bush. The event summarized and reported on the six UNESCO literacy conferences held around the world since an inaugural White House conference on global literacy in 2006.
- A luncheon discussion on 23 September focused on financing education to achieve the millennium goals. Representing RI, Barnet shared information about some of Rotary's recent polio immunization efforts in Afghanistan with Afghan officials.
- A 24 September forum on long-term solutions to the global food crisis. Futa was among the 100 CEOs, government leaders, and heads of foundations and UN agencies who participated.