Addressing a meeting of past governors, Rotaractors and Interactors and other Rotary leaders from RID 3220 in Colombo, RI President Mark Maloney said that one of the great things about being an RI President was “that Gay and I have had the opportunity to travel the world to see the great work Rotarians are doing around the world, and to experience their fellowship and commitment.”
Earlier that morning, he said, he had visited two great projects — the Ayathi facility for disabled children, which was a GG project done by RC Colombo West and the Human Heart Valve Bank at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital, another global grant project done by RC Colombo Fort.
For a tiny country like Sri Lanka to have two leaders of international organisations representing 1.6 million people is a great accomplishment!
— Mark Maloney, RI President
“It is amazing to see the work Rotarians are doing in Sri Lanka and rest of the world. In my district, one of the largest clubs is RC Birmingham with 640 members, and (PRIP K R) Ravindran is an honorary member of that Rotary club. For the last several years both RCs Birmingham and Colombo have partnered on several projects, including, to me, the most significant project to eradicate cervical cancer from Sri Lanka. I am so impressed with this project that
I had asked Ravindran and Dr Ed Partridge, former President of the US Cancer Society, and a member of
RC Birmingham, to highlight this project for all the incoming governors at IA 2020.”
Reiterating how “personal connections are important too”, Maloney said that way back in 1994 when Ravindran, a PDG, was invited to be the training leader at the International Assembly for the second successive year, at the same IA, “there was another past governor from Alabama who received the invitation for the first time to be a training leader. And that young PDG was me, and Ravi, my senior, gave me a hard time then and still gives me a hard time now! But we look forward to his leadership as Trustee Chair from July. The Foundation couldn’t have been in better hands than his in the upcoming RY 2020–21.”
Maloney said Ravindran had already given a lot of thought to the management of TRF. “He realises how critical polio eradication is to us at this point. Recently he and President Elect Holger Knaack were in Pakistan interacting with its Prime Minister and Army Chief to make sure that we bring polio eradication to a conclusion in that troubled area of the world.”
Also the RI President added Ravindran “will bring his business savvy skills to TRF and make sure that we have a very tight ship.”
Hailing the district’s partnership with Toastmasters International in the training of Rotarians and Rotaractors in leadership skills, Maloney referred to the presence in the room of Toastmasters International past president Balraj Arunasalan, and quipped: “You have in this room past presidents from both Toastmasters International and Rotary International who are both from Sri Lanka. I kind of think you are punching above your weight! RI presidents in the US are dime a dozen. But for a tiny country like Sri Lanka to have two leaders of international organisations representing 1.6 million people is a great accomplishment!”
He added: “We’ve got to a point where we can’t be insular any more, we have to forge partnerships. Just as in polio we partnered with the Gates Foundation, WHO, UNICEF etc, this wonderful partnership is the way to grow Rotary and increase our impact by building a synergy between our two organisations.”
Pictures by Rasheeda Bhagat