RI Atlanta Convention Highlights

Key Highlights from the Convention include:
  • Outstanding speech by Andrew Young - first black mayor of Atlanta and human rights activist encouraging us to keep doing the "impossible".
  • Ashton Kutcher - actor and co-founder of Thorn - to end slavery and human and child sex trafficking...and asking Rotarian to support that cause. Once the End Polio Now campaign is accomplished, it is expected that the focus of Rotary is going to shift to another initiative to end Human Trafficking.
  • Presentation by Brittany Arthur - President of the Rotaract Club of Berlin - if every Rotarian invited one Rotaractor to join their Rotary Club, we would have 2.4 million members!
  • Speech by Ian Riseley incoming RI President 2017-18 - Ian is a passionate environmentalist and asks every Rotarian to plant a tree in the upcoming Rotary year. 
  • Introduction of RI President nominee - 2018-19 - Samuel "Sam" F. Owari from Uganda. (Owori is chief executive officer of the Institute of Corporate Governance of Uganda. Before that, he was executive director of the African Development Bank, managing director of Uganda Commercial Bank Ltd., and director of Uganda Development Bank. He has studied law, employment relations, business management, corporate resources management, micro-finance, and marketing at institutions in England, Japan, Switzerland, Tanzania, and the United States, including Harvard Business School.)
  • "Countdown to 0"- renewed commitment to eradicate Polio and the donation of a combined $1.2 billion from Governments and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • Bill Gates speech on Rotary's incredible work with Polio Eradication - only 5 wild polio virus cases this year (Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria).  In the 1980's there were over 350,000 cases every year.
Our Club's Martin Ruben, was at the RI Convention in Atlanta with 40,000 other people. It was the RI Foundation's 100th anniversary, so the focus was on the End Polio Now program. On Monday, June 12, 2017, Martin sent the following update back to the Club, where Bill Gates & RI President John Germ made a major announcement. 
Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, strengthened their foundations commitment to Rotary with the exciting announcement that it will expand its match agreement with Rotary. Contributions to Rotary for polio eradication will be matched 2-1 up to $50 million per year through the next three years. There were pledges from a variety of sources. The biggest contributor is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which pledged $450-million; Rotary International, the service club that has made ridding the world of polio its mission, will contribute $150-million, Nigeria $140-million, Pakistan (via the Islamic Development Bank) $100-million, Canada $75-million, and a host of other donors totalling $1.2 billion (U.S. dollars.). The Global Polio Eradication Initiative aims to eradicate the childhood disease by 2020.