Posted by Kelvin Davies on Jul 19, 2019

More than 24,000 Rotarians  from 170 countries descended on Hamburg in June to Capture the Moment, make new connections, renew old ones at the 110th annual Rotary International Convention.

During the convention, they were part of the conversation on pressing world issues like polio eradication, pollution, refugee migration, disease prevention, and literacy. They inspired to enhance thier skills in areas that Rotarians value, like fellowship, integrity, diversity, service, and fellowship. 

Attendees - Past RI President Bill Boyd and Rotarian Del Johnston enlightened Pakuranga Rotary about the Hamburg Convention.

Del and Bill gave some examples of speakers and commented that these had been chosen for inspiration rather than for their prominence. They were very inspirational and there was considerable focus on Rotaract and on the core values of Rotary. In future years we may have more prominent people again and this will give a variety from year to year.

The venue was uncomfortably large though the plenary hall only sat 12,500 people and it was on temporary seating on a flat floor which meant that most watched on TV screens. This contrasts with last year in Toronto which was held in a huge sports stadium with two levels of tiered seating. There was plenty to do.

The plenary sessions were each morning and the afternoon filled with optional workshops on almost every Rotary subject. There were three official luncheons but these only attracted about 850 people each as they were focused on incoming leaders at all levels. The Host Committee had arranged events for each evening but the major attraction was the House of  Friendship with over 300 booths exhibiting club, District and Action Group projects and which gave a sense of the wider world of Rotary and the wonderful things we are doing.

The family of Rotary is invited to experience aloha at the 2020 Rotary International Convention in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, 6-10 June 2020

Allan Vester asked a question on Polio and how we were coping with those who did not want the vaccine. Bill commented that most Muslim clerics were promoting immunisation and the Taliban was being generally co-operative but there was a group of extremists who saw the programme as a Western plot and they were the ones discouraging the vaccine use and killing vaccinators. There is an emphasis now on having the Pakistan government take greater ownership of the campaign. Afterwards Bill said that one practical problem was that homes in the areas being most frequently immunised as most at risk was that they were getting up to 6 visits a year from vaccinators and the follow-up checking and were starting to push back. The response to this is to add value by bringing back the Plus aspect of PolioPlus and including measles  and other vaccines in the dose. The challenge remains and we need to keep supporting the fundraising until we are finished.

We were indeed privileged to hear the comprehensive reports from Del and Bill and I am sure we all have an improved understanding of the wonderful world of Rotary and the many opportunities to assist those less fortunate.