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Due to your positive response to the Each One, Bring One initiative, I am so happy to see that the membership trends in Rotary are looking up. Let us not lose this momentum — keep inviting new members, and also work hard to retain every member we attract. I look forward to seeing you next month in Houston at the 2022 Rotary International Convention, which I assure you will be a great event.
Also in Houston this June, we will be hosting my final presidential conference. We have devoted this year to conferences built around Rotary’s areas of focus. They have been a tremendous success, both in terms of attendance and in the ideas that were generated.
Last fall, our conference in the Philippines, which focused on protecting the environment and growing local economies, attracted 2,200 people online. In Brazil, our meeting centered around water, sanitation, and hygiene and how it relates to disease prevention and treatment; more than 600 people attended. That was followed by an event about the environment, economy, and peace in Maputo, Mozambique, which attracted around 400 in-person attendees and another 700 virtually. Our conference about keeping the economy and environment in harmony, held in Venice, Italy, had more than 600 in attendance.
Through these conferences and my world travels, numerous leaders have met with me and agreed to collaborate with Rotary. They include the prime minister of Mauritius, the president of Seychelles, the deputy prime minister of Bahrain, and the presidents of Albania and Kosovo. Clearly, Rotary is making an impact, and the world is eager for our leadership.
In Houston, the final presidential conference, Serve to Bring Peace, will focus on an area in which Rotary has long provided leadership. Everything we do in Rotary helps create the conditions that foster peace in communities, nations, and ourselves.
In March, I was able to see firsthand the tremendous difference Rotary is making in Ukraine, as refugees continue to pour into Poland. Donors have contributed millions of dollars to this effort; our projects are making a tremendous difference, and there is enormous gratitude for your continued generosity and support.
It is heartbreaking to see up close all the lives that have been uprooted, and the Ukrainian people are not alone. A devastating civil war in Yemen continues. The humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan is deepening. Armed conflicts affect nations across Africa, including Libya, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, northern Mozambique, Ethiopia, and Cameroon. And major refugee crises continue in Syria and Venezuela.
Rotary will always be on the side of the peaceful resolution of conflict and providing aid and comfort to people in need. Rotary was there at the end of World War II, promoting the creation of the United Nations and standing up for the cause of peacebuilding worldwide. It is time to renew our mission and perform our role as one of the world’s great promoters of peace.
There is no better way to Serve to Change Lives than to serve the cause of peace.