Taking big bites out of polio in the Big Apple

Ramesh Ferris (right) meets with Neil Young, also a polio survivor, during the Global Citizen Festival.

By Ramesh Ferris, polio survivor and member of the Rotary Club of Whitehorse-Rendezvous, Yukon, Canada

In late September, I traveled to New York City to attend two events to promote global polio eradication. To say my weekend in the Big Apple was amazing would be an understatement.

Consider these memories: Joining Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, and others in sharing the urgency of polio eradication with world leaders assembled for the UN General Assembly during a special side session on polio. Continue reading

Proud to be a Rotarian

A boy has his pinkie marked to indicate he has received the polio vaccine. Photo courtesy of Dino Marzaro

Dino Marzaro, president of the Rotary Club of Quebec, Quebec City, Canada

I first discovered Rotary in 1998, when I joined the Rotary Club of Quebec City. For the past six years, I have tried to take part in a polio immunization trip every year, with the latest this July to Pakistan.

From 12-22 July, a team of three Rotarians from Quebec City, Canadian polio survivor and Rotarian Ramesh Ferris, and four Rotarians from the United States took part in immunization efforts in Karachi. Aziz Memon, chair of the Pakistan PolioPlus Committee, and Shaikh Jalaluddin, governor of District 3271, took care of our team from the minute we arrived. Continue reading

My meeting with Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Ramesh Ferris and Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Ramesh Ferris, left, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Photo courtesy of Ramesh Ferris

By Ramesh Ferris, polio survivor and member of the Rotary Club of Whitehorse-Rendezvous, Yukon, Canada

I had the honor recently of meeting with Archbishop Desmond Tutu in his home in Cape Town, South Africa, where I had a chance to talk to him about polio eradication.

The archbishop has been a wonderful supporter of Rotary’s efforts to rid the world of this paralyzing, horrific disease, as a participant in the “This Close” public awareness campaign. He was also a speaker at the World Peace Symposium in Birmingham during the 2009 RI Convention. Continue reading

Giving the gift of a kidney

Scott Dudley after kidney procedure

Rotarian Scott Dudley gives the thumbs up after surgery to donate a kidney to someone he had just met.

By Jane Helten, governor of District 5050 (part of Washington, USA, and British Columbia, Canada) 

A series of coincidences brought Rotarian Scott Dudley and Phil Rosario together. 

On 16 May, Scott, a member of the Rotary Club of North Whidbey Island Sunrise, Washington, USA, donated one of his kidney’s to Phil, who he had met only a week before.  Continue reading

Rotaractors roll up their sleeves during convention


Rotaractors take part in a service project during the 2012 RI Convention in Bangkok, Thailand.

By Andrea Tirone, a member of the Rotaract Club of University of Toronto, reporting from Bangkok, Thailand

It’s official. I have attended five Rotaract Preconvention Meetings around the world, the most recent of which took place on 4-5 May, in Bangkok, Thailand.

This experience has been unlike any of the others because I also had the opportunity to attend the four-day Asia Pacific Regional Rotaract Conference immediately before.  Continue reading

Straight talk about peace

Sanjeev Chowdhurry

Former Ambassadorial Scholar Sanjeev Chowdhury spoke at the 2012 Rotary World Peace Symposium. Rotary Images/Monika Lozinska

By Sanjeev Chowdhury, former Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar and consul general of Canada, as told to RI staff writer Ryan Hyland

The biggest roadblock for achieving peace is the absence of understanding. The remedy for this is communication.

Communication is the key to world peace and the lack thereof will stall peace indefinitely. World leaders today aren’t bringing people together like they used to. The breakdown in dialogue has proven to harmful to peace negotiations worldwide.

When people aren’t talking, problems are inevitable. Continue reading

Service loves company

Marc LeBlanc and Eva Gorny

Rotaractors Marc LeBlanc and Eva Gorny take part in an icebreaker during the Rotaract Preconvention Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand.

By Ryan Hyland, RI Editorial staff, reporting from Bangkok, Thailand

Rotaract preconventions are a time to meet new friends, get reacquainted with old ones, share projects and experiences. Most of all have fun.

But a time to fall in love? That part didn’t quite make it in the Rotaract handbook. However, Rotaractors Marc LeBlanc and Eva Gorny did just that during the 2008 preconvention in Birmingham, England.

Both are members of the Rotaract Club of the University of Lethbridge, Canada. They went to Birmingham, as friends I might add, to represent their club as it was the recipient of the North American Rotaract Outstanding Project award for raising US$25,000 for a microcredit project in Costa Rica. Continue reading

Rotaract: Inspiring new generations to service

Andrea Tirone

Andrea Tirone is a member of the Rotaract Club of the University of Toronto.

By Andrea Tirone, a member of the Rotaract Club of the University of Toronto, in celebration of World Rotaract Week 12-18 March.

When I joined Rotaract many years ago, our club’s president was phenomenal at getting everyone motivated for the basic health and literacy project we were establishing in Krishnanagar, India.

We began the InspiReacHope project, through a partnership with a local Rotary club and non-governmental organization. It was one of the most enthusiastic, driven, and focused groups of people I had ever met. The project lasted for many years.  Continue reading

Cheering India’s polio gains

Ramesh Ferris

Ramesh Ferris, a member of the Rotary Club of Whitehorse-Rendezvous, Yukon, Canada, visits with a polio survivor while in India for the recent summit.

By Ramesh Ferris, polio survivor and member of the Rotary Club of Whitehorse-Rendezvous, Yukon, Canada

Every day of my life, I’m reminded of the permanent effects of the horrific poliovirus.

Stricken with polio at the age of six months in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India, I underwent a series of surgeries and physical rehabilitiation after my adoption into a Canadian family, learning to walk on crutches by age four. Polio affected my lungs, and I contracted pneumonia nine times before my 11th birthday.

Continue reading