The Key – 30th June 2014

Next week

Next Monday – RICon14 [aka Sydney Rotary Convention] ‘Show and Tell’ – attendees should bring along any giveaways they collected and spread them out for members to browse at (some very interesting ideas). Pres Ian is sharing a presentation he recently gave at Ginninderra Club – Australia’s Nationhood – Myths and Facts. You may never believe a history teacher or politician again!

Last Week – Changeover

On a very cold and wintery night, 28 members and friends of Gungahlin Rotary gathered in the cosy surroundings of the H2O Restaurant in Nicholls to wave off the past year and welcome the new.

PDG Bob Greeney, DGE Rowley and AG Graeme, acting as MC, were made welcome as were representatives from the clubs at Hall, Ginninderra, Canberra North and, of course, Aurora Gungahlin.

A number of events on the night highlighted the celebratory atmosphere. First Bob, who joined us two years ago, was asked to propose the toast to RI – with 41 years unbroken service, it just seemed he had earned the right! After dinner, District Governor Elect Rowley re-inducted outgoing President Ian in as the new President, given he is continuing for another year – this also meant no outgoing President’s speech.

A highlight was the announcement that our Treasurer, John Howlett, is the inaugural awardee of the Club’s Steve Bell Rotary Award. John was presented with a certificate, a book prize and his name is the first on the commemorative shield. John looked a bit surprised, as Emma who had organized childcare to permit her to also attend, had kept it a secret.

Then it was time to announce the award of four additional Paul Harris Fellows – Sandra (a second sapphire as a PHF+2), Bob (a sapphire as a PHF+1) and past member and ongoing supporter Caroline Richards. Then Treasurer John asked Ron Richards to come up and receive his award as a PHF as well for all his work and advice as our auditor – this was to have been an equal surprise but I think Ron had his suspicions.

A further highlight that was organized just in time for the night was the induction of Emma Hales into the Club as our newest member, carried out by PDG Bob. PP Jenny Somerset and David Muleney, from Emma’s old club at Young, drove over on an awful night to see the event – a big surprise to Emma!

Pres Ian gave an address as outgoing/incoming President on our past and future and then we switched to presentations, raffles and consumption of the Club Changeover Cake.
Words & pics from Ian Foster

Club Updates

  • Sandra found a friend at Trash & Treasure last Sunday (or maybe it is a prospective new member).
  • Liz is alive and well in Barcelona – via text message

The Key – 23rd June 2014

Next Monday

Club Changeover: H20 Restaurant, Nicholls

Quoting from our current President:

“The Changeover Dinner gives club members the opportunity to celebrate their lives as Rotarians and the contributions they have been able to make towards providing a better world, both locally and across the globe, through this commitment. It also enables a club to celebrate its achievements and to recognise and plan for its challenges in the future. The Changeover Dinner allows the outgoing leadership team to review and report and introduces the club’s leadership team to its membership.”

We are expecting a good level of attendance of members, visiting Rotarians, friends and guests at our Changeover and it should be a great night. In addition to the inducting of several Paul Harris Fellows a special feature will be the first award of “the Steve Bell Rotary Award”.

Last week

Last Monday night we held a Club Assembly & Board Meeting and worked through our Agenda and updated the Action List.

Polio Update (from Rotary International)

Southeast Asia has been declared polio free.

The World Health Organization certified on 27 March its 11-country Southeast Asia region has eradicated polio, a long-awaited declaration given that five years ago India represented nearly half of all polio cases worldwide. The region’s last wild polio case was reported in West Bengal, India, on 13 January 2011.

“This achievement is an important milestone for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative [GPEI],” said Rotary Foundation Trustee chair Dong Kurn Lee at the WHO’s South-East Asia Regional Certification Commission for Polio Eradication meeting in New Delhi, India, on 27 March. “We have beaten polio in Southeast Asia, and now we must do the same in the rest of Asia and Africa.”

The region includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Timor-Leste. Its more than 1.8 billion people represent over 25 percent of the world’s population.

Southeast Asia joins WHO’s Region of the Americas (1994), Western Pacific Region (2000), and European Region (2002) in eradicating polio, marking another vital step toward a polio-free world by 2018.

Densely crowded cities, migrant populations, and poor sanitation posed daunting challenges to eliminating the disease from Southeast Asia.

India PolioPlus Committee Chair Deepak Kapur called eradicating polio in his country “a monumental task, demanding an extraordinary effort by all levels of government and partners involved. Backed by more than 100,000 Rotarians across the country, we helped to ensure maximum support for everything from National Immunization Days (NIDs) to mop-up immunization rounds.”

Also crucial were “the extensive efforts we made to build goodwill and acceptance of polio immunization in the Muslim community and among religious leaders,” said former Rotary Foundation Trustee Ashok Mahajan. Rotary clubs created additional support by conducting free health camps to meet basic needs such as measles immunization, free checkups, medicines, vitamin A supplements, and eyeglasses.

In Sri Lanka, ceasefires during the country’s civil war were pivotal to carrying out NIDs in the 1990s. As a first step, Rotary leaders and UNICEF established contact with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
“Our war is not with the children,” replied the group’s leader, stating that if Rotary and UNICEF could persuade the government to stop the war for two days, they would be willing to lay down their arms too. Subsequent NIDs became known as Days of Tranquility.

In Bangladesh, Rotary, WHO, and UNICEF boosted public awareness of the need to eradicate polio, motivating parents to have their children vaccinated during NIDs. In Nepal, Rotary, the national government, WHO, and UNICEF worked hand in hand to make the country polio free. Nepal held its first NIDs in 1996 and recorded its last indigenous wild polio case just four years later.

More than 1,500 Rotary members will be celebrating India’s and the region’s achievement at the Polio Free Conclave in New Delhi 29-30 March. The event also focused on strengthening the commitment of the GPEI partners to ending polio globally, including sharing lessons learned in India with other polio-infected countries.

The GPEI’s challenge now is to eradicate polio in the three countries where the disease has never been stopped: Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria. And recent outbreaks in the Middle East and Horn of Africa are stark reminders that polio anywhere is a threat everywhere.

“It is India’s responsibility now to share our lessons and best practices with our colleagues in the countries still fighting polio in order to protect their children, and ours as well,” said former Rotary International President Rajendra Saboo. “We already are doing this, assisting in any way we can… India’s victory over polio and the certification of Southeast Asia occur at just the right moment to provide a resounding rallying cry for the final push needed to wipe polio from the face of the earth.”

The Key – 16th June 2014

Next Week

Next Monday we will meet in the Restaurant at McKellar and given recent events and the upcoming changeover into the 2014 – 2015 Rotary year we need to consider, as a full club, a range of serious issues. While it is formally a combined Assembly Board Meeting, the participation of all members if requested.

Rotary International Convention 2014

The Rotary International Convention 2014 was held at Olympic Park in Sydney, mainly from Sunday June 1 – 4 was sensational with 18 000 delegates, mild weather and a great ‘feel’. From a chat on the special train with Texans, morning coffee with Nigerians, lunch with the Japanese and an afternoon wine with the Romanians, the Global Rotary family was on full display. Gungahlin was well-represented: Terry, Kiri, Liz, Geoff and I all attending and we met many fellow Canberrans as well.

Although the four days largely comprised a daily plenary session and a choice from 90 breakout sessions, there was plenty of time for relaxing in the House of Friendship and explore new ideas from clubs and projects across the globe.

The dedicated non-stop Rotary train service from Central to the Venue proved very efficient and comfortable and a great way to meet Rotarians from far and wide.

Day 1 Sunday was the Opening Plenary with remarks from the RI President, Ron D. Burton, the NSW Premier, Mike Baird and the Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who spoke very well, praising our tradition of service and volunteerism. His father, a Rotarian for 40 years, was in the front row. He pledged, on behalf of the Australian people, a grant of $100 million for Polio Plus.

The entertainment was provided by the NSW Public Schools Aboriginal Dancers and the Las Vegas-based, Aussie group Human Nature – 60 minutes of their renowned Motown music. This Plenary is always marked by tradition and pageantry and the Flag Parade brought before us the flags of the over 150 countries where Rotary is operating. (I was surprised to see Antarctica’s!).

On Day 2 Monday I used my free travel pass to commute to Olympic Park on the ferry, explaining as best I could as a fellow visitor, the harbour sights to the overseas delegates. The sun came out and as we strolled between the venues, we were bathed in lovely sunshine. This Plenary focused on practical programs in action – health projects, literacy, diabetes,

sanitation and links between sport and service. I attended a breakout on making meetings more fun, which was a little odd, and another on conflict resolution. That night was the orchestral concert at the Opera House – its sails bathed in an amazing light show.

Day 3 Tuesday was again warm and sunny and the Plenary brought wonderful news about the fight against polio, particularly in the Middle east and African countries. I then attended the luncheon for incoming Club Presidents before heading for home.
Day 4 Wednesday saw me back in Canberra but reports have reached me of an amazing closing ceremony full of colour and music. The 20,000 delegates were treated with beautiful music from the Ten Tenors and Marina Prior. Our new RI President Elect, Gary C.K. Huang from Taiwan, was introduced.
Attending a Rotary International Convention is an amazing experience and this is my third, after New Orleans and Lisbon. You meet so many people from all over the world and everyone is friendly happy to chat. The scheduled events are great but in each case, for me the highlight has always been The House of Friendship – the essence and heartbeat of Rotary.
Words & pics from Ian Foster

The Key – 9th June 2014

This week

Next Monday night there will be no meeting as it is a public holiday.

The Rotary International Convention 2014

With over 18,000 rotary members from 154 countries the Rotary International Convention 2014 was by all measures a roaring success. Apart from a few episodes of showers on the opening day the Sydney weather was almost perfect with above average temperatures and beautiful sunshine.

Five members of our club attended the event and we will hear over the next few weeks some of their stories. My own observation was that it was a very well organized event with the free rail transport, to and from Sydney Olympic Park, working well. Full credit goes to the Host Organising Committee.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and New South Wales Premier Mike Baird were on hand to address the convention and assure Rotary members of Australia’s commitment to their cause of eradicating polio. The Prime Minister announced at the convention that the Australian government will commit $100 million over five years to help the program to eradicate polio.

There were many excellent speakers over the various plenary sessions covering topics ranging from personal experiences to wider overviews of issues such as polio eradication, gender equality and the future of Rotary.

With 90 separate breakout sessions there was plenty of choice for Rotarians to participate.

The opening plenary session also welcome the first Rotary Club to be chartered in Myanmar.

The Key – 2nd June 2014

This Monday

On Monday night members and friends will meet at Sandra’s house for a social night. Please contact Sandra if you are attending.

Last week

Last Monday night we welcomed our guest speaker Mr Nick Terrell, Chief of Staff to the Hon. Dr Andrew Leigh, Member for Fraser. It was very interesting to hear how such an office is run, the diversity of issues that arise and the daily challenges of such a busy and important workplace.

Members were also delighted to welcome five visiting Rotarians from the USA who had taken the opportunity to visit the Canberra region before the RI Convention in Sydney. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to socialise over dinner. Our overseas visitors also had many questions of our Guest Speaker, identifying similarities to, and acknowledging differences with, their political system.

Our guests were: Nancy Cassel (D5500 District Governor, Sierra View West Club, Arizona), Ray Cassel (Asst Governor of same), Mac Hickman (D6670 District Governor, Batavia Club, Ohio), Eric Marcus (D6670 DGE Beaver Creek Club, Ohio) and Michael Mills (McPherson Club, Kansas). Our AG, Graeme Kinraid, called in during the meeting to meet our special visitors

Club Updates


Sandra will find it hard to say good-bye to Juliette & Reedly from Vanuatu, who are going home after Reedly’s operation, but we look forward to seeing them again in the New Year when they will return for follow-up treatment.

The Key

Jerry will take over the preparation of The Key while Liz is on holidays June & July.