The Korea Herald


Rotary International holds conference in Gyeongju

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : Oct. 5, 2021 - 20:52

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Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta

International Rotary, a nonprofit international volunteer organization, held its 2021 Rotary International President Conference and training session at the K Hotel in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, Tuesday.

Themes of the conference were disease prevention and treatment as well as the environment, and the event was attended in person by Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta. The speakers included former Environment Minister Kim Myung-ja, Ehwa Womans University professor Choe Jae-chun, former Korea Environment Corp. Chairman Chun Byung-seong and Korea University professor Choi Jae-wook. Dr. John Alderman Linton, chair of Severance Hospital’s disease control department, also spoke.

The training session for 63,000 members nationwide was a chance to reflect on their volunteer and donation activities and share their future visions and strategies. All events were held virtually and broadcast live on YouTube in line with quarantine rules.

On Wednesday, Mehta is to award a letter of appreciation to Jimin of boy band BTS in a ceremony. Jimin donated 100 million won ($84,000) to International Rotary’s polio eradication fund in July, saying, “I want to make sure that no child suffers from polio.”

Rotary has been working for more than 30 years to combat polio, a deadly disease that causes paralysis in children. Due to its efforts and those of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the number of polio infections has fallen 99.9 percent from 350,000 in the 1980s.

Mehta thanked and encouraged Korean Rotary members striving to fight polio and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said, “Volunteering is the rent for the space I occupy on this planet,” adding, “Let’s be a good tenant on this planet.” This year, he encouraged education and volunteer projects to strengthen women’s capabilities and foster future female leaders.

Mehta, an accountant and businessman from India, has supported literacy, disaster relief after tsunamis and corrective surgery to restore vision. He took office as president of the International Rotary in July with the motto “Serve to change lives,” leading 1.2 million members of more than 36,000 Rotary Clubs worldwide.