The honour of a lifetime

It’s customary for a Rotary president in the final month in office to recap the past year on this page, and I am proud of all we have achieved together. But I want to focus on our future, and that begins with polio.

1. During a country visit to Mongolia, RI President Gordon McInally tries his hand at falconry, an ancient practice in the region. 2. McInally (second from left) and leaders of District 3450 give the thumbs up during preparations for the Macau Grand Prix in November. 3. While visiting Nassau, Bahamas, for a Rotary ­Institute, McInally drops by an environmental project run by Rotary members. 4. McInally shares a moment with Kenyan Rotarian and Rotaractor Kennedy Gayah on the sidelines of a Rotary Institute in Lusaka, ­Zambia. 5. McInally and his wife, Heather, greet Pope Francis in St Peter’s Square, Vatican City.

We have reached an astonishing 3 ­billion children with the polio vaccine, and we have averted an estimated 20 million cases of ­paralysis. But it’s not enough. We must ­continue supporting the End Polio Now campaign to reach zero cases and keep our promise to the world’s children.

Polio is not our only global commitment. In fact, Rotary has been working toward global peace even longer. Spreading Positive Peace through service projects and Rotary Peace Centers around the world is more important than ever.

6. The McInallys visit Rotary leaders in Bhubaneswar, known as India’s ‘temple city’. 7. A student works on a puzzle with McInally at a school for young people with disabilities in South Africa that is ­supported by Rotary clubs. 8. McInally works on his forehand at a ­demonstration space for tennis players who use wheelchairs while in Rome for a Rotary Institute. 9. During a tour of Africa, McInally presents Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera with a quaich, a Scottish gift of ­friendship. 10. The McInallys join the fun at the July Fourth Parade in Evanston, Illinois, home of the Rotary International headquarters.

We must also continue to build peace from within, and that begins with supporting mental health and wellness among our fellow Rotary members and the communities we serve. Rotary has an opportunity to help build a global mental health system that currently does not exist, and I urge all members to consider joining the Rotary Action Group on Mental Health Initiatives to keep up the momentum we began this year.

It’s been the honour of a lifetime to serve as your president. You have given Heather and me memories we will cherish forever. I look ­forward to our continued friendship and our collective commitment to Create Hope in the World.

Gordon McInally
President, Rotary International

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