Top 10 Rotary stories of 2010
Top: John Kenny, 2009-10 RI President visited Haiti in late February, surveying the damage with Past RI Vice President Roberto Valentín. Photo courtesy of District 4060
Bottom: RI President Ray Klinginsmith unveils the 2010-11 theme during the International Assembly in January. Rotary Images
From a massive earthquake in Haiti to the launch of the Future Vision pilot, 2010 was an eventful year for Rotary International and Rotarians. As the new year dawns, we look back over memorable moments from the last 12 months with our top 10 list of Rotary news events.
1. Earthquake in Haiti
Rotarians in Haiti began laying the groundwork for recovery after a powerful earthquake shattered the capital of Port-au-Prince on 12 January, leaving 200,000 dead and millions more homeless.
The Rotary Foundation established the Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund, a donor advised fund, which raised more than US$1.3 million by April toward long-term recovery. A task force set up two years earlier by District 7020, which includes Haiti, to administer all financial aid to the nation worked with local clubs to deliver aid where needed.
In late February, 2009-10 RI President John Kenny visited the country "to show that Rotarians worldwide care about the plight of their fellow human beings, many of whom have lost everything."
2. RI theme
Incoming RI President Ray Klinginsmith unveiled the 2010-11 RI theme, Building Communities -- Bridging Continents , during the International Assembly in January. He described how his 50 years of Rotary experience contributed to his focus on communities at home and abroad.
Look for upcoming coverage on next year’s RI theme, which RI President-elect Kalyan Banerjee will announce at the 2011 International Assembly, 16-22 January.
3. Fight against polio
The bivalent oral polio vaccine is proving to be a potent weapon in the arsenal of Rotary and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Developed to stop transmission of the type 1 and type 3 wild polioviruses simultaneously, the vaccine was introduced in all four polio-endemic countries -- Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan -- in late 2009 and early 2010, and has helped reduce the incidence of polio dramatically in both India and Nigeria.
Meanwhile, a study published in the Vaccine journal, “Economic Analysis of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative,” estimated that the initiative could prevent more than eight million cases of paralytic polio and save US$40 billion to $50 billion, if the wild poliovirus is eradicated in 2012 or shortly thereafter.
But the news was not all positive. Rotary provided $500,000 in emergency grants to UNICEF and WHO for immediate polio immunization efforts in Tajikistan in April and another $500,000 in November for immunization efforts in the Republic of the Congo, following outbreaks of the wild poliovirus in those countries. Such outbreaks illustrate that all countries remain at risk for the importation of the poliovirus and show the urgent need to End Polio Now.
4. Progress on the challenge
Rotarians held a variety of creative and successful polio fundraisers throughout the year, helping to reach the US$155 million mark in Rotary’s US$200 Million Challenge. Club members cycled, swam, danced, and sold everything from hot dogs to flower bulbs in support of the global effort to eradicate the disease.
In the months leading up to the FIFA World Cup in June, a football signed by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and dignitaries from more than 20 African nations traveled throughout the continent in the Kick Polio Out of Africa campaign. The ball ended its journey onstage at the 2010 RI Convention in Montréal, Québec, Canada.
Also, the "This Close" public service announcement campaign rolled out to help clubs and districts spread the polio eradication message.
5. 2010 Council on Legislation
Representatives to the 2010 Council on Legislation enacted a number of monumental measures that made e-clubs a permanent part of Rotary International, created the Avenue of New Generations Service, increased the annual per capita dues that clubs pay to RI by US$1, and gave Rotarians the option of receiving The Rotarian magazine electronically.
6. 2010 RI Convention
More than 18,000 Rotarians from 154 countries and geographical areas converged on Montréal, Québec, Canada, in June for the 2010 RI Convention. During four packed days of plenary and breakout sessions, attendees heard from an impressive lineup of speakers, including Queen Noor of Jordan; Jo Luck, president of Heifer International; Greg Mortenson, best-selling author and cofounder of the Central Asia Institute; Bob Mazzuca, chief scout executive of the Boy Scouts of America; and country music singer and philanthropist Dolly Parton.
7. Future Vision
A three-year pilot to test the new, streamlined grant structure under The Rotary Foundation Future Vision Plan got underway 1 July. One hundred districts are participating in the pilot; all districts will take part in the new grant structure starting in July 2013.
The Foundation approved the first global grant in June for a project to combat the spread of dengue fever in Indonesia. District 3330 (Thailand) received the first district grant and will use the US$39,500 to buy books, computers, and sports equipment for schools; provide clean water for students; and add patient beds at a hospital.
8. End Polio Now lightings
In celebration of Rotary's 105th anniversary, 23 February, the End Polio Now message was projected onto a number of iconic landmarks, including the Pyramid of Khafre in Egypt; the Taipei Arena in Taiwan; the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain; the Old Port Captain’s Office on the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa; the Obelisk of Buenos Aires, Argentina; and the Royal Palace at Caserta in Italy.
9. Palestinian club charter
More than 150 Rotarians and guests, including 2009-10 RI President John Kenny and RI Director Phil Silvers, gathered on 30 May to celebrate the charter of the Rotary Club of Ramallah, the first club in Palestine in three decades.
10. RI Strategic Plan
A revised RI Strategic Plan went into effect in July. The plan comprises three priorities, all of equal importance to Rotary's future: support and strengthen clubs, focus and increase humanitarian service, and enhance public image and awareness. In November, the Board approved several recommendations and actions that reinforce the priorities and goals of the plan.