Biking against hunger on Chicago’s South Side

By John Hewko, Rotary International General Secretary

I biked about 25 miles from Evanston to Chicago’s South Side Englewood neighborhood last week with my wife, Marga; Benjamin Rasmus, a Seattle Rotary member and program director for Rotary First Harvest; Rotary member David Bobanick, Rotary First Harvest’s executive director; and a contingent of co-workers from RI World Headquarters.

Through this experience, we learned more about our community and the work Rotary members are doing to address hunger. We saw firsthand the innovative efforts underway in Englewood to provide access to fresh, locally grown produce to families living in what has been referred to as a “food desert.”  Continue reading

Fifth birthday and beyond

John Hewko

John Hewko

By John Hewko, Rotary International General Secretary

Beginning 23 June, Rotary will join 37 NGOs, non-profits, philanthropies and businesses in supporting the 5th Birthday and Beyond celebration that recognizes the leading role the U.S. government plays in improving children’s health worldwide.

And believe me, there is much to celebrate, especially the incredible improvement in childhood mortality rates over the past quarter century. Experts tell us that in 2014, six million fewer children will die before their fifth birthday than was the case 25 years ago. Continue reading

Rotary on the world stage at World Economic Forum

John Hewko

John Hewko

By RI General Secretary John Hewko

I recently had the privilege of representing Rotary International at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Every year, the economic forum brings together in Davos several thousand of the world’s leading figures from the private sector, government, and academia. The forum also invites a select group of 40 non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Following the concerted efforts of senior Rotary leaders, Rotary has been fortunate to be chosen as one of those NGO invitees. Continue reading

Media spotlights Rotary’s leadership in polio eradication

John Hewko

John Hewko

By RI General Secretary John Hewko

From the time I came aboard as general secretary of Rotary International in July 2011, one of my top priorities has been to help ensure that Rotary receives the credit it deserves for its leadership role in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative as we move ever closer to a polio-free world.

I’m happy to report that 2012 has been a good year in terms of keeping Rotary “in the story” as the news media have covered a series of major developments in polio eradication. Of course, we can do more, but we are making significant progress in increasing the recognition of Rotary. Continue reading

Rockin’ in a Polio-Free World!

Aseefa Bhutto Zardari, Canadian Rotarian Ramesh Ferris, and RI General Secretary John Hewko make the “This Close” sign before the concert begins. Photo by Marga Hewko

By RI General Secretary John Hewko

What a momentous week it has been for Rotary and polio eradication in the Big Apple.

As you know, on 27 September Rotary participated in a historic session on polio eradication convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during the 67th UN General Assembly. You can watch the entire session here, and view additional photos here. Continue reading

Ride to end polio

Rotary International General Secretary John Hewko and his wife, Marga, are training to take part in the El Tour de Tucson to raise money for PolioPlus. Rotary Images/Monika Lozinska

By Rotary International General Secretary John Hewko

For more than 20 years, Rotarians and their friends have worked tirelessly to keep our promise to the world’s children to eradicate polio. We’re almost there, but as in any race, the last mile is the hardest.

On 17 November — to honor those who strive to reach the historic goal of eradicating a human disease for only the second time in history — my wife, Marga, and I will join Rotarians in the Tucson, Arizona, area to raise money for Rotary’s PolioPlus Program at El Tour de Tucson. Continue reading

Welcome

John Hewko

John Hewko

By John Hewko, Rotary International General Secretary

Welcome to our new blog designed to tell the Rotary story from a variety of angles and in many different voices. We’ll showcase stories of Rotarians fighting the war on polio—at National Immunization Days and through fundraisers in their communities. We’ll also give voice to those who are working to make a difference in our six areas of focus: peace and conflict prevention/resolution, disease prevention and treatment, water and sanitation, maternal and child health, basic education and literacy, and economic and community development.

Continue reading