Global legal reform expert to receive top Foundation alumni award
Former Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar Peter Kyle speaks during the 2009 Rotary Alumni Celebration in Birmingham, England. Rotary Images
Peter Kyle, an international attorney based in Washington, D.C., has been named by The Rotary Foundation Trustees to receive the Foundation's 2009-10 Global Alumni Service to Humanity Award.
Kyle will accept the honor at the RI Convention in Montréal, Québec, Canada, in June.
"Within the Rotary world, this is a very prestigious award, and I feel truly honored and delighted to have been selected," Kyle says.
A member of the Rotary Club of Capitol Hill (Washington, D.C.), Kyle has worked on more than 100 development projects in over 80 countries for the World Bank. He retired as lead counsel from the World Bank in 2009 after a 17-year career and continues to serve as a consultant.
"Just before I joined the World Bank in 1992, the socialist systems in the former Soviet Union and other East European countries collapsed," he says. "I spent the next five years commuting to Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Poland, and other countries advising on the legal reforms necessary to effect the transition from a socialist system to an economy based on market principles ... There were no textbooks; we had to develop solutions and improvise as we went along."
Before working for the World Bank, Kyle was counsel for the Asian Development Bank, based in Manila, Philippines, and in private practice in New Zealand.
Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Wellington North, New Zealand, Kyle studied law at the University of Virginia in the United States as a 1973-74 Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar. "My Rotary year convinced me that sooner or later I would want to focus on international issues," he says.
Kyle joined the Wellington North club just two years after completing his studies as a Rotary Scholar. ''It all happened very naturally and seemed almost an extension of my Ambassadorial Scholarship experience," he says. "Rotary has been a very important part of my life for over 36 years and has enabled me to become involved in all manner of projects and service activities."
Most recently, Kyle's passion has been to promote the Foundation’s educational programs and reconnect with Foundation alumni in District 7620 (District of Columbia; part of Maryland). Almost a third of the 30-member Capitol Hill club are alumni.
"Many of the 400-plus alumni in this district had lost contact with Rotary, but as a result of a strong outreach program, a good number are coming back into the Rotary family," says Kyle, referring to the semiannual alumni gatherings hosted by the Capitol Hill club. He also notes that the World Bank now employs more than 25 alumni.
"I thoroughly enjoy my interactions with the alumni and being able to assist with job applications, speaking engagements, and generally ensuring that the Rotary flame continues to burn brightly and that they remain connected with this wonderful organization."
Written for Reconnections