We are in New Orleans for the annual Rotary International Convention. It has been a lot of fun. There are 18,000 Rotarians from around the world all here to learn more about how they can operate their clubs and services more effectively, and of course to have some fun.
One of the highlights was Microsoft founder Bill Gates. He is assisting with Rotary’s efforts to rid the world of polio. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have kicked in hundreds of millions of dollars so Rotarians can continue their work. We are down to 4 countries that are endemic! The whole story is HERE about Bill Gates and his partnership with Rotary and other organizations as we near the goal of zero polio cases in the world. Bill told the room how we have to keep pushing governments for funding even in difficult times. He mentioned the Canadian government and how they cut off funding to polio eradication until Rotarians and others pressured them into re-evaluating, then deciding to keep on funding the efforts. He wrapped it up with a video that was very, very powerful. Bill Gates really impressed us.
Jan and I have had a nice hot few days in New Orleans. We have met people from far and
wide. We have dined with local folks from our area, and others from around the world.
Jan and I were in a hotel when someone came across the room and said hello. It was Peter Swain and his wife Barbara. These 2 were one of my host families in Australia when I visited on a Rotary Friendship Exchange in 2007. Although we have emailed we haven’t corresponded much since so we had a real nice time catching up. Another Rotarian on the Oz trip – Flo from Ft. MacMurray – was also in New Orleans so we had a lot of fun remembering our experience in the Brisbane area.
One of the high lights of the convention was a meeting with my fellow District Governors for 2012 2013. There are 535 Rotary Districts in the world and around 300 made it to the informal meeting. We compared notes and did a small work shop on building more effective clubs. We met Sakuji Tanaka, a member of the Rotary Club of Yashio, Saitama, Japan, and President of Rotary International in 2012-13. Here we had some fun with fellow District Governors for 12-13 (Starting July 1). All 535 of us meet again for a week on intensive training in January, 2012 in San Diego.
There were many works shops to attend on things like social media, public awareness, diversifying clubs and more. In between we are able to have some fun as well… We’ll return with new ideas and new energy to inspire fellow Rotarians back home. Attending a Convention is like any profession or passion. You meet similar people all wanting to do it better. We are glad we attended.
We signed up for next year already -Thailand!