Portuguese Rotary members illuminate Belém Tower in Lisbon, Portugual.
On 18 June, five days before the opening of Rotary International’s annual convention in Lisbon, historic Belém Tower joined a host of other iconic world landmarks - including the Sydney Opera House, the British House of Parliament, and the Roman Coliseum - in bearing Rotary’s illuminated message to End Polio Now.
Rotary’s effort to eradicate this crippling disease will take center stage throughout the 23-26 June Lisbon convention:
- On 22 June, there will be a STOP-POLIO Boat Docking (Marina Park of Nations). Ocean-racing yachts, their sails emblazoned with the words,“Stop Polio Now,” will be christened by Rotary International President Sakuji Tanaka.
- On 24 June, an intensive polio workshop will include speakers from Coca-Cola Pakistan, which partners with Pakistani Rotary clubs on polio eradication efforts; and Rotarian and philanthropist Sir Emeka Offor, Group Executive Vice-Chairman of The Chrome Group in Nigeria.
- On 25 June, Jeff Raikes, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will discuss (via a video message) the Gates Foundation’s partnership with Rotary in support of the polio eradication initiative.
- On 25 June, Dr. Bruce Aylward, Assistant Director-General for Polio, Emergencies and Country Collaboration at the World Health Organization, will give an update on the status of global polio eradication.
- Also on 25 June, Archie Panjabi is best known to millions of TV viewers as investigator Kalinda Sharma on the hit series, “The Good Wife,” will discuss her involvement in the fight to end polio. The Emmy-award winning actress is also one of Rotary’s “This Close” celebrity polio ambassadors and recently joined Rotary volunteers to immunize children against polio in India. Learn more in The USA Today.
The “This Close” campaign received a local boost with the addition of Portuguese television host Jorge Gabriel and National Health Award winner Professor Fernando de Pádua. Both will be featured in outdoor advertisements in Lisbon the week of 20 June.
Rotary began its polio eradication program in 1985, and in 1988 helped launch the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI)
. Since then, Rotary has contributed more than EUR 913,861,000 (US$1.2 billion) and countless volunteer hours to reach the world’s children with the oral polio vaccine. Portugal’s 157 Rotary clubs have contributed EUR 590,400 (US $773,670) to polio eradication, and the Portuguese government has contributed EUR 763,114 (US$ 1 million).
Follow the convention on Twitter with the hashtag #ricon13, on Rotary.org