RI Convention promises inspiring speakers at a great value
Muhammad Yunus (top), founder of the Grameen Bank, and Hugh Evans (bottom), cofounder and CEO of the Global Poverty Project, will be speakers at the 2012 RI Convention in Bangkok, Thailand, 6-9 May.
Register for the 2012 RI Convention by 1 March and enjoy the lowest registration rates in a decade.
Rotary's 103rd convention in Bangkok, Thailand, 6-9 May, will offer attendees an unforgettable experience in the Land of a Thousand Smiles. Bangkok is a city filled with exotic temples, unique museums, and ancient attractions. The RI Convention also promises great speakers, including two individuals who have spent their lives promoting economic and community development, one of Rotary's areas of focus.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus will be a keynote speaker Monday, 7 May. Yunus is the founder of Grameen Bank, which provides small loans to entrepreneurs, particularly women, in impoverished communities.
Also speaking on 7 May will be Hugh Evans, cofounder and CEO of the Global Poverty Project, an organization dedicated to motivating people to take action to end extreme poverty. The Global Poverty Project recently added polio eradication to its list of campaigns.
A subsidy from the Thai government has helped make the low registration rates possible. Register for the Bangkok convention by 1 March and you and your spouse or partner will pay just US$195 each to attend. Children ages 5-18 are only $10 each. Rotaractors and Rotary Foundation alumni can attend for $75, while Interactors and Rotary Youth Exchange students pay just $10.
Star Alliance member airlines are offering travel discounts to Bangkok for Rotarians. Save up to 20 percent on most published business and economy fares (some exceptions may apply).
Muhammad Yunus was an economics professor at the University of Chittagong in Bangladesh when he began transforming lives through microcredit. What began as personal microloans to poor women in nearby villages grew into Grameen Bank, which today has more than 2,500 branches throughout the country. Since 1983, the bank has helped launch or expand the businesses of more than 8.34 million borrowers – 97 percent of them women.
What makes Grameen Bank even more impressive is its nearly 97 percent repayment rate – a recovery rate higher than any other banking system. Grameen social business models can be found in 58 countries, including Canada, France, Norway, the Netherlands, and the United States.
In October 2006, Yunus and Grameen Bank were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to foster economic and social development from the bottom up. Yunus chairs the Yunus Centre, which was formed to help disseminate information and promote the Grameen model.
Ending poverty, hunger, and polio
Hugh Evans began his humanitarian work at age 14, traveling to the Philippines from his home in Australia as an ambassador for World Vision. He founded the Australia-based Oaktree Foundation, a youth-run aid organization that aims to end global poverty, and in 2004 was named Young Australian of the Year.
The Global Poverty Project formally launched in 2008. Using a combination of advocacy campaigns and education, the organization seeks to motivate the public to halve poverty and hunger by 2015, a target of the UN Millennium Development Goals.
Recently, the Global Poverty Project has set its sights on another goal of particular importance to Rotarians: ending polio. The organization is conducting an online petition drive to encourage world leaders to fully fund polio eradication, and held an End of Polio Concert on 28 October in Perth, Australia.
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