Rotarians from around the world congregate in Melbourne

Rotarians from around the world congregate in Melbourne

Nearly 15,000 Rotarians congregated in Melbourne in late May for the Rotary International Convention. This was the second time the International Convention had been held in Melbourne, the last occasion being 1993.

It was the largest conference secured so far this century for Melbourne. The global spotlight was on our city and how we presented ourselves to the world.

The conference ran from May 27 to 31 at Rod Laver Arena and Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC).

Rotary as an organisation provides service to others, promotes integrity, and advances world understanding, goodwill, and peace through our fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders. Around 1.4 million Rotarians belong to more than 35,000 Rotary clubs located in 166 countries. This conference is a major opportunity for local Rotarians to meet and connect with people of action like ourselves from around the globe.

Speakers included leaders from within Rotary as well as world leaders in their field. Dr Shahzad Asif Baig is national coordinator of the Polio Eradication Program in Pakistan, one of only two countries left in the world where wild polio exists.

Emmanual Katongole is an executive director of CiplaQCIL, the largest pharmaceutical manufacturer in East Africa and the only maker of antiretrovirals in Africa.

Leymah Gbowee is 2011 Peace Laureate and founder of Gbowee Peace Foundation. She is a Liberian peace activist, trained social worker and women’s rights advocate, and has been named as one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders by Fortune Magazine.

The Victorian economy was bolstered with spending from thousands of Rotarians that delivered around $50 million to the state’s economy. For example, more than 6000 hotel rooms across 40-plus properties were required. Rotarians have come from more than 100 countries from every corner of the world.

At the Grand Opening at Rod Laver Arena on Sunday, May 28, international president Jennifer Jones from Canada, pledged another US$150 million from the Rotary Foundation to polio eradication efforts during her opening address, bringing Rotary’s total commitment to a staggering US$2.25 billion.

On the evening of Monday, May 29, many of the interstate and international visiting Rotarians were hosted either by individual Rotarians in their homes, or by clubs in venues around the city. Carlton Rotary, together with Collingwood, Fitzroy and Richmond Clubs hosted 50 visitors in the barristers social club in the Owen Dixon Chambers in William St.

Cooking at Ronald McDonald House

In late March, Carlton Rotarians began cooking barbecue sausages and hamburgers again at Ronald McDonald House, after a hiatus of three years during COVID.

The House, with multiple properties in Gatehouse St, Parkville, provides accommodation for families of sick children in the Royal Children’s Hospital. These families are from country Victoria or interstate and sometimes have to be close to their children for many weeks or months. Family dinners are provided weekly by Friends of Ronald McDonald House, with barbecues by a range of community groups.

Carlton Rotary will be continuing its more than 15-year involvement with the House by providing the meat and cooking on a bi-monthly basis. •

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