Indian businessman to lead Rotary as its 101st president
Banerjee will target polio eradication as his top priority
(EVANSTON, Illinois, USA, October 27, 2009) – Kalyan Banerjee, a businessman from Gujarat, India, will become president of Rotary International www.rotary.org - one of the largest humanitarian service organizations in the world – on 1 July 2011. As president, Banerjee will lead a global network of 1.2 million business and professional leaders from more than 200 countries and geographical regions who, through volunteer service, help meet the needs of communities worldwide.
Banerjee, a member of Rotary since 1972, and the international organization’s third president from India said, “I am honored to lead Rotary as its 101 st president.” Banerjee added that Rotary's strengths include its ability to attract leaders from different vocations around the world, as well as its role in promoting peace. "My goal is for Rotary to become the preferred organization for today's generation to join and participate in, to make the world better, safer and happier," he said.
As president, Banerjee will oversee Rotary’s top priority of eradicating polio, a crippling and potentially fatal disease that still threatens children in Africa and Asia – including India. Since 1985, Rotary club members worldwide have contributed more than US$800 million and countless volunteer hours to the effort, and Rotary is now working to raise an additional $200 million to fulfill its commitment for a $355 million challenge grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Great progress has been made, and the incidence of paralytic polio infection has plunged worldwide from 350,000 cases in 1988 to fewer than 2,000 in 2008.
As one of the four remaining polio endemic countries, which also include Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan, India’s fight against polio remains strong with the volunteer and financial support of more than $106 million from Rotary. In addition, Rotary's sustained political, bureaucratic and religious advocacy efforts at national, state and district levels have made a discernible impact on the program in India. As the past chair of the Southeast Asia Regional PolioPlus Committee and member of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee, Banerjee spearheaded many of Rotary’s novel initiatives, which have given a new push to the polio eradication program in India. To learn more about polio eradication, visit www.rotary.org/endpolio or www.polioeradication.org .
Rotary also sponsors the largest privately funded international scholarship program in the world. Since 1947, Rotary has contributed roughly $500 million to fund a year of study abroad for 38,000 students from 100 countries. These cultural ambassadors use the skills and knowledge they acquire through their time abroad to advance the cause of international understanding, goodwill, and peace. Rotary also sponsors seven Rotary Centers for International Studies in peace and conflict resolution at eight leading universities in six different countries.
Banerjee is a director of United Phosphorus Limited, the largest Indian agrochemical manufacturer, and the chair of United Phosphorus (Bangladesh) Limited. He is a member of the Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers and the American Chemical Society, a past president of Vapi Industries Association, and former chair of the Gujarat chapter of the Confederation of Indian Industry. He earned a degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. Banerjee and his wife, Binota, have two children and four grandchildren.
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