- More than 900 people, including Rotarians, Rotaractors, and Interactors from more than 44 countries, attended Rotary International Day at the United Nations in New York City on 8 November.
- The day featured panel discussions on water, literacy, health, and hunger. Speakers came from within Rotary, the UN, and other partner nongovernmental organizations, illustrating how organizations can work together to tackle these challenging issues.
- Speaking on one of the panels, Martin Silink, president of the International Diabetes Federation(IDF), said that half of the 440,000 children with diabetes worldwide lack access to the insulin they need to live.
- Silink encouraged Rotarians to undertake diabetes projects and noted that the UN passed a resolution in 2006 creating World Diabetes Day, observed on 14 November.
- C. Wayne Edwards, a past district governor and member of the Rotary Club of Tallahassee, Florida, USA, described how he was inspired by his diabetic wife to raise money for diabetes causes during his year as governor.
- The result was a $106,000 project that, with help from IDF, provided a diabetes camp for children and established seven clinics in Bolivia.
- Other highlights of the day included an address by Grace Agwaru of Uganda, who in 1975 was the first heart surgery patient treated under the Gift of Life program, a Rotarian-supported initiative.
- Some of the loudest applause of the day went to Anand Balachandran, interagency coordinator of the World Health Organization, who cited the effectiveness of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative by contrasting today’s four remaining polio-endemic countries with the more than 125 that existed when the initiative was launched in 1988.
- “This work could not have happened without Rotary,” Balachandran said.