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Rotary News

Tom’s Blog – October 2020

Tom’s Blog – October 2020

Rotary Great Britain and Ireland President, Tom Griffin, shares the fourth instalment of his monthly blog which included celebrated World Polio Day.

Another month… another Zoom! But quite a varied month this time. I continue to enjoy visiting clubs, and this last month I’ve been to Scotland (twice), Leicestershire and London. Fewer than the past few months, but that’s largely because my time has been taken up with a number of different events:

The first week of October saw the first “formal” meeting this Rotary year of Governing Council. A busy agenda, with discussion of Rotaract, Youth Exchange, the Multi-District PETS pilot being undertaken, and included Governing Council reiterating its decision to not permit face-to-face club meetings while current Government restrictions are in place. Fortunately many clubs continue to do so online and connect with each other and their communities.

The next weekend was quite busy. A few years ago, my club hosted a group of Romanian paediatricians on a Vocational Training Team visit, and arising out of that we have recently completed a Foundation Global Grant project which bought $40,000 worth of modern equipment for those doctors’ hospitals.

One of the doctors is a founding member of a new Rotary club in Romania, the Rotary Club of Cetatea Neamtului, and it was my privilege to be involved in that new club’s Charter celebration on 9th October.

I was delighted to participate in an online celebration of Rotary’s achievements in the eradication of polio

The following day I attended our Zone’s virtual Rotary Institute, hosted from Amsterdam.  Interesting and informative, but, like so much this year, its being online served to bring into focus just how much it was a disappointment to miss the chance to get together with Rotarians from all over western Europe.

Later in the month I briefed my own District’s Council meeting on the resolutions coming before this year’s Council on Resolutions, voting on which is open (online) from 15 October to 15 November.

The Council on Resolutions gives clubs the opportunity to put forward proposals which, if approved by a majority of the votes cast by districts, go forward to the Rotary International (RI) Board for its consideration. Resolutions aren’t binding on the Board, but they give the Board an indication of districts’ feelings on the issues raised.

October 24, of course, was World Polio Day, and I was delighted to participate in an online celebration of Rotary’s achievements in the eradication of polio – a fitting year for such a celebration following the announcement in August that the World Health Organization’s Africa Region is free of the wild polio virus.

The event was hosted by TV presenter Konnie Huq and Paralympian Anne Wafula Strike, who herself is a polio survivor, and featured messages from all over the world, including from The Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair Ravi Ravindran, as well as the live participation of retiring WHO Director of Polio Eradication, Michel Zaffran, and Jonathan Cavendish, producer of the acclaimed film Breathe.

A lot of my time over the past few weeks has been taken up with working with my fellow Officers of Rotary GB & I in considering how we should respond to RI’s regionalisation initiative, “Shaping Rotary’s Future”.

We have put together some ideas which we shared with District Governors, Governors-Elect, Governors-Nominee, Past Rotary GB & I Presidents and others at a Zoom session on 26 October.

Reaction has been positive, and we’ll all be working over the next few weeks to develop those thoughts on which district leaders will be seeking members’ views.