A Glimpse of Toronto RI Convention
The first moment I was walking into the arrival hall of Toronto Pearson international airport and saw the Rotary International (RI) logo, fellow Rotarians and volunteers working around for convention badge pickup, I could not help but be excited. The host city of Toronto was full of diversity and multi-culturalism. The inspiration is around every corner.
25,652 Rotarians from around the world came to the 109th RI convention looking for friendship reunion, making new connections and finding inspiration. A princess, 3 prime ministers, and a former first lady join us in Toronto to celebrate Rotary’s good work and plan more of it.
During 4-day events, there were 4 general sessions and more than 90 breakout sessions where we had plenty choices to listen to eloquent speakers, learned to polish our leadership skills and get inspired with new ideas for projects, fundraising, strengthening membership and more.
At the opening ceremony, general sessions and the closing, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, expressed thanks to Rotary for taking a central role in working to eradicate polio (video). Former first lady of the United States Laura Bush challenged Rotarians to keep early childhood education a priority. RI IPP Ian Riseley showcased the Virtual Reality that put you at the center of health work around the world. RI President Barry Rassin’s 2018-19 presidential theme is Be the Inspiration. He stressed the importance of building sustainability in every project and initiative Rotary clubs and districts conduct. “We need to look in all our areas of focus and every one of our projects through the lens of sustainability,” he said. (video)
LeapFrog co-founder Jim Marggraff, from the Rotary Club of Lamorinda Sunrise, California, USA, described the education tablet that his company created to teach Afghan women literacy skills. Marggraff also talked about the ways his company has been partnering with Rotary to develop virtual reality technology to advance service efforts. I was highly impressed by his avocation of PTS (problem to solve) to make things happen. (video)
The convention was also filled with enthusiastic young men and women who had gathered to celebrate Rotaract’s 50th birthday. President Barry encouraged all building Retractors as the vital force within our organization.
We never can miss visiting the House of Friendship, it offered a unique opportunity to showcase our service project, celebrate our Rotary accomplishments, share information about our Rotary Action Group, and sell our Rotary merchandise as a licensed RI vendor. Our China District booth 1010 received more than 1,000 Rotarians’ visiting and 80 banners were exchange, we’ve increased our awareness to the worldwide fellow Rotarians.