Sheila Longie and President elect Colleen LaBeau presented us with an overview of the 106th Rotary International Convention in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  More than 14,000 attendees from all over the world assembled for the four-day convention.
The convention was called “festival of ideas” and President Huang began the celebration announcing the year’s gains in membership, a top priority of his presidency.
As of the end of May, 30 zones have increased their membership in the past 11 months. This Rotary year there has been a 47,884 net membership increase, which is a 4 percent increase, and the best in the last 14 years.
Rotary has clubs in more than 200 countries and territories, covering more of the world than even the United Nations does. But Huang said that opportunities for Rotary service still lie in other areas, including China, Laos, and Vietnam.
Nigeria and the whole continent of Africa is on the cusp of being polio free. Between 2013 and 2014, the reported cases of polio dropped from 53 to just six in Nigeria. Even more encouraging, is that the last case of polio in Nigeria was reported in July of last year and the last case in all of Africa was reported in Somalia in August.
Transmission of the wild poliovirus has also never been stopped in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In 2014, 85 percent of polio cases worldwide were in Pakistan, the country’s highest case count in over a decade. But progress has been made over the last few months to stem the spread of the virus. The focus for the government and all of the polio partners has shifted to missed children. Vaccinators have gained access to areas that have been out of reach for years.
Since January, cases in Pakistan are lower than this time last year thanks to advocacy work from Rotary members.
In addition to Rotary meetings and events Colleen and Sheila had time to meet new people and tour around Sao Paulo.