Press Release:- The 2020-2021 Rotary year will be remembered for many things, the most impactful of which is the 7030 District Conference hosted from Saint Lucia.
Past Rotary International President Barry Rassin was one of the key presenters on day one of the conference. He spoke to the theme for the new Rotary Year – Rotary Opens Opportunities.
In a world that has seen crime sky rocket, businesses fail, and people lose hope, Past President Rassin called out Rotary as “a whole new way of doing business.”
Highlighting the new hybrid environment, he said, “Rotarians are called to a higher level of service, to work toward sustainability and peace.”
While Polio will still remain a top agenda item for Rotary International, with ten cases reported in the last six months and no Wild Polio cases reported for the first time in many years, the management of Polio is beginning to turn a corner.
These were the lowest figures reported since the beginning of the war on Polio which started more than 35 years ago.
It is essential however, that Rotary remain at the forefront of the current health battle-field with COVID-19, as, in Past President Rassin’s words, “there had been an influx of covid-19 related projects that had come to the Rotary Foundation for possible funding”.
“Already,” he said, “some US$37M had been spent on various initiatives, and over 200 volunteers had joined the fight to help get vaccines to remote areas in the world”.
“Over the coming months”, he said, “not only would Rotarians have to increase their ability to adapt; they would have to be innovative in expanding the reach of Rotary, and take some measured risk to increase impact, while enhancing engagement on the ground.”
A tall order indeed, coming on the heels of the newly articulated 7th area of focus for Rotary International, the environment.
Already, some US$18M have been committed in global grants over 6 years for work in the environment.
A clarion call has gone out to help save the environment, which has direct links to food security and the very survival of mankind.
“Rotary without Borders;” This is how one Rotarian described the District Conference, when Brenda Cressey, Trustee of the Rotary Foundation and Chair of the Rotary Foundation Fund Development joined the illustrious line of speakers.
Cressey spoke to the “cosmic explosion of possibilities,” as evidenced by her presence at the 7030 District Conference, from her hometown in the US.
She implored Rotarians to “use technology to engage and retain members.” She spoke to the need for Rotarians to streamline their activities in this challenging environment, but to remain focused on finding solutions.
There was no doubt that the year 2020-2021 was fraught with global upheaval. Throughout the District Conference however, speaker after speaker continued to acknowledge the opportunity that the world faces at this time.
District Governor Lisle Chase, when he took the podium, was electric. “Though the tempest rage about”, he said, “Rotary stands. It is grounded on the rocks of friendliness, tolerance and usefulness. Despite not being able to fellowship, despite the volcano in St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Rotary stands.”
District Governor Lisle spoke to the 4% net growth in membership during the 2020/2021 Rotary Year.
And as he tried to summarise his year, he highlighted the work of the alumni outreach committee; the childhood obesity prevention project and the goal of confirming 100,000 peace builders across the region, who would help to promote peace in communities throughout the district.
He was proud, he said, “to have embraced the virtual realm where together, people create change.”
As Rotary faces its greatest challenge since its inception, growing from one man and one idea in 1905, to the formation of the 2000th club four years later, and by 1936 to the inauguration of 4000 clubs, its impact is unquestionable.
Rotary is the first NGO with significant impact on world events.
The full spectrum of human rights has been impacted. Rotary has worked alongside UNESCO, the United Nations, the CDC and the Gates Foundation.
This District Conference ended on a high note, charging Rotarians across the region and in the world, to “serve to change lives.”
Headline photo: District 7030 Rotarians