…I couldn’t help but be aware of how much my life has changed in the last few years.
Last week I flew to San Diego to speak at a Rotary International Assembly. It was a bit heady for me. Not only my first time with a teleprompter and six-language simultaneous translation, but I was an ‘opening act’ for the President of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, who announced that they were chipping in another $50 million to Rotary, on top of their previous $200 million matching grant, to support Rotary’s ongoing effort to wipe out Polio entirely. And some great news had come out of India in the week previous to the conference: it has now been over a year since a new case of polio has been reported there. That brings the number of countries where polio is still endemic to just three—Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.
I was there to talk about the Rotary Peace Fellowship, which I was awarded in 2008 (back when it was called the Rotary World Peace Fellowship). Rotary is trying to endow the program so that it will be self-supporting, and they are two-thirds of the way to their $95 million goal. Congratulations to them for the good work they’re doing. Rotary Peace Fellows are having an impact, and I think we’ll see them having an even greater impact in years to come. I believe in this program, and I’m grateful for opportunities to support it.
Rotary ran this article on its web site this week: Folk Singer Turned Peace Fellow is Changing the World. There is a link from that page to the text of that talk, and even to a DVD of it.