Some of you know the words of actor Christopher Reeve: “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they become inevitable.”
I began my year as Rotary Foundation trustee chair with four goals: to eradicate polio, build ownership and pride in our Foundation, launch our new grant model, and engage in innovative partnerships and projects. It has been an exciting year of change, growth, and new achievements, and as I end my term, I am inexpressibly proud of the work I have seen Rotarians do.
Perhaps one of the most important milestones we have seen this year was the World Health Organization’s certification of Southeast Asia as polio-free. This was a long-awaited declaration. Just five years ago, India represented nearly half of all polio cases worldwide. The 11 countries in the region – Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, North Korea, Sri Lanka, and Thailand – are home to 1.8 billion people and represent the fourth of six regions worldwide to be officially certified polio-free. This landmark didn’t happen on its own; it embodies a lot of hard work by many dedicated volunteers.
In my final month of service as trustee chair of our Rotary Foundation, I leave feeling grateful. I’m grateful for the opportunity to know so many of you hard-working and devoted Rotarians, and I’m grateful for all your help in making the four goals I set out with become a reality.