Rotary International’s first Korean president poised to open historic convention in Birmingham
Humanitarian service organization’s 100th annual meeting to include visit by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
BIRMINGHAM , England (18 June 2009) – Rotary’s annual international convention will have a decidedly Korean flavor when it gets underway 21 June at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham.
More than 1,000 South Korean Rotary club members will be among the approximately 20,000 registrants from 150 countries due in town for the meeting and related activities. Presiding over the convention is Dong-Kurn Lee, Rotary International’s first South Korean president, who will welcome United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the opening day’s keynote speaker.
Ban is expected to recognize the humanitarian service organization for its leadership role in polio eradication and for its work in support of the UN Millennium Development Goals, an eight-point blueprint for reducing extreme poverty, hunger and disease worldwide by 2015. Ban also will receive the Polio Eradication Champion Award, the highest recognition Rotary bestows to heads of state, health agency directors and ministers, and others who have made significant contributions to polio eradication.
Korean culture will feature prominently in the opening ceremony, which begins at 9:45 a.m. in the LG Arena. The ceremony will include the Korean national anthem, a performance by the Little Angels, a children’s dance troupe from Seoul; music by opera stars Jeon Seung Hyun and Ji Hye Son; and a demonstration by the Tae Kwon Do Association of Great Britain.
Lee notes that the Birmingham meeting is especially historic because it is the 100th annual convention in Rotary’s 104-year history. “Thanks to this collaborative effort, our one-hundredth convention will be a fantastic celebration that will inform, stimulate and inspire,” said Lee, who has made the fight against child mortality the emphasis of his one-year presidency.
The convention is hosted by the Rotary Club of Birmingham with support of 58 clubs in the West Midlands. It is expected to pump ₤20 million into the local economy. Birmingham was also the site of Rotary’s 75th convention in 1984.
Often described as a mini-United Nations due to Rotary’s internationality and diversity, the convention will transform the National Exhibition Centre into a kaleidoscope of energy, color and excitement as Rotary members participate in a broad agenda of plenary sessions, workshops and other activities focused on how Rotary clubs help improve communities worldwide through volunteer service. Displays showcasing hundreds of Rotary’s humanitarian and education projects and programs are open daily throughout the convention at the aptly named House of Friendship exhibition area.
Members of the media are welcome to attend any Rotary convention event. Media must check in at the convention press center at NEC for press credentials. Advanced registration is available.
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Rotary is a global network of business and professional leaders who provide humanitarian service and help to build goodwill and peace in the world. There are more than 1.2 million Rotary members in over 33,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical regions.
Journalists can obtain media credentials at the Convention Press Center at the NEC, Piazza One. For more information, contact: Rotary Convention Press Center (opens 20 June) at
0870 76 11503, 0870 76 11504, 0870 76 11518 .