Lisbon – The “oldest city in Western Europe” hosted Rotary’s annual international convention featuring the theme “Lisbon – A Harbor for Peace” 23-26 June, attracting more than 20,000 Rotarians from over 150 countries. Often described as a “mini-United Nations” because of its global scope and cultural diversity,
“In Rotary’s 108 years of humanitarian service, Portugal hosted the Rotary Convention for the first time. This was the biggest convention ever held in Portugal where Rotary members from all over the world joined to embrace the Portuguese universal spirit of understanding and goodwill,” said Luis Miguel Duarte, chair of Rotary’s Host Organizing Committee.
Rotary’s top priority goal is the global eradication of polio, a crippling and potentially fatal disease that still threatens children in Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
As is every year, the Rotary Club of Abbotsford participates in this spectacular event by having its incoming president attend. This year, incoming president (2012-13) is Angelo Rea of Dignity Memorial. Accompanying Angelo were Rotarians Suzanne Greening and Sara Lawson, also members of the Rotary Club of Abbotsford.
Angelo and team arrived back in Abbotsford last weekend after a hectic few days meeting and hearing from Rotarians around the world.
President-elect, Angelo Rea, 2013-2014 Rotary Club of Abbotsford, together with Rotary directors Sara Lawson and Suzanne Greening at the Rotary International Conference, Portugal.
Engage Rotary . . . Change Lives: Rotary Convention 2013-14 Lisbon, Portugal.
By Angelo Rea, President-elect, Rotary Club of Abbotsford.
We are Rotarians who give generously. We want to make this world a better place to live in. We want to change the world and enrich the lives of individuals. Celine Cousteau said, “Change only begins with action and action comes from the heart. Touched, moved, and motivated.” Through our 34,000 Rotary Clubs Internationally, we are changing lives in our communities and all around the world. In order for Rotarians to change the world, we need to engage ourselves through Humanitarian Service. We need to be dedicated in providing a better world for those who are less fortunate than we are.
Jane Goodall said “Mother earth can provide for all of mans need but Mother Earth cannot provide for mans greed.” Individualism has contributed to our materialistic society and most of us have more than enough. The earth provides more than abundance for us and yet we strive for our wants, which leads to individualism. We have so much, we are wealthy individuals, and we know that there are places around the world that have so little and are barely surviving. As Rotarians, we want to engage people in Rotary and make known of our activities. We are people of action. We do what we say. We are close to the eradication of polio. Our mission will be complete by 2018. We bring peace and conflict prevention, disease prevention and treatment, water and sanitation, maternal and child health, basic education and literacy and economic and community development to countries that are in need and developing. Once we engage ourselves in these areas, we can rest assured and know that we will change lives forever while we are changing our own.
President of Rotary International, Ron Burton’s theme “To engage Rotary and Change Lives” resonates in what we do as Rotarians all around the world. “It takes one person to make a difference. As a group of Rotarians, we can change the world and make it a better place (Ron Burton).”
Emmanuel Jal, Founder of the Gua Africa Foundation talked about change in his life from being a Child Soldier to a Peace Solider. At the age of 6 they were burying their dead as well as being trained to kill. Emmanuel has been an ambassador for Rotary’s Peace Mission. “The worst people on earth are not only those who commit evil, but those who stand by and turn a blind eye (Emmanuel Jal)”.
As Rotarians, we engage ourselves in the prevention of war and to the concept of world peace. Sakuji Tananka our 2012-2013 President emphasized “Peace through Service.” As we engage ourselves in service, we demonstrate love in action. We need to make this world a better place. Rotarians demonstrate this through service.
People of all lifestyles can make a difference in the lives of others. We can instill hope and influence. People can be the difference maker in someone’s life. “You can tell people of the need to struggle, but when the powerless start to see that they really can make a difference, nothing can quench the fire (Leymah Gbowee-2011 Nobel Peace Laureate).” When Rotarians are on their mission through service, we do change our communities and people all around the world. The Lisbon Conference made me realize that we are Rotarians for life on a mission to make a difference. We want to Engage Rotary and change lives.
Angelo Rea currently serves as the Area General Manager for seven funeral homes in the Fraser Valley for Dignity Memorial Funeral Homes including; Woodlawn, Henderson’s and First Memorial. His induction as president of the Rotary Club takes place July 9th 2013 at the Thai D’or Restaurant, Abbotsford. Angelo will replace outgoing president Andrew Franklin, publisher at The Abbotsford News.
For more information about the Rotary Club of Abbotsford:
Rotarians worldwide organization of business and professional leaders who provide humanitarian service and help to build goodwill and peace in the world. Rotary’s global membership is approximately 1.2 million men and women who belong to more than 34,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas.