Top Rotary stories of 2008
RI President Dong Kurn Lee welcomes visitors to the opening of the End Polio Now exhibit at Rotary International Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA in October. Rotary Images/Alyce Henson
Bottom, In September, Haitians wade through a flooded street after Hurricane Hanna dumped even more rainfall on areas already suffering from extreme flooding. Photo courtesy Rotary District 7020
The calendar year 2008 was an eventful one for Rotary International.
RI President Dong Kurn Lee challenged Rotarians to Make Dreams Real for the world's children, while Past Foundation Trustee Chair Robert S. Scott outlined Rotary's US$100 Million Challenge to bolster the fight to eradicate polio. Meanwhile, Rotarians around the world brought immediate comfort and aid to victims of disasters.
As the new year dawns, we look back over some of the more memorable moments of 2008 for Rotary International with our Top 10 list of news events.
Rotary International's PolioPlus campaign remained a priority, as Past Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair Robert Scott outlined Rotary's US$100 Million Challenge in January, calling upon Rotarians to help raise the money during the next three years to match the $100 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, awarded in November 2007. In other polio news, G8 nations renewed their commitment to polio eradication at a July summit, and RI unveiled the "End Polio Now" exhibit at RI World Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA.
2. Make Dreams Real
In January, Lee asked Rotarians to Make Dreams Real as he addressed incoming district governors at the 2008 International Assembly in January, urging them to use their resources to help curb child mortality.
3. Future Vision
The Rotary Foundation Trustees continue to work on the Future Vision Plan, which will help move The Rotary Foundation into its second century of service.
4. 2008 RI Convention
About 18,000 attendees -- from as far as Afghanistan, Brazil, Germany, and Zambia -- converged on Los Angeles for the 2008 RI Convention, 15-18 June. The drive to end polio received a huge boost from the World Health Organization.
5. Disaster strikes
Rotarians rose to the challenge following several natural disasters, providing comfort and aid to victims.
6. Rotaract turns 40
In the late 1960s, noting the success of the recently formed Interact program, the RI Board realized the need for a program of service, activity, and fellowship for young adults no longer of Interact age (14-18). The name Rotaract (Rotary in Action) was selected to show the program's close affiliation with both Rotary and Interact clubs. In March, Rotaract celebrated its 40th anniversary.
7. Rotary-UN Day
More than 900 people, including Rotarians, Rotaractors, and Interactors from more than 44 countries, attended Rotary International Day at the United Nations in New York City on 8 November. The event featured panel discussions on water, literacy, health, and hunger.
8. Rotary map expands
On 11 August, with RI's chartering of the Rotary Club of Kiritimati, the Republic of Kiribati joined the more than 200 countries and geographical areas on the Rotary map.
9. Peace programs merge
The professional development center at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand, joined the Rotary Centers for International Studies in peace and conflict resolution program.
10. Rotary Images
Rotary Images launched in February, offering thousands of free, high-quality photographs for Rotarians.