For Rotary International's role in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and helping give more than 2 billion children a life free from polio, the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations' anti-hunger agency, honored Rotary with the WPF Award for Exemplary Humanitarian Leadership.

By Vukoni Lupa-Lasaga
Rotary International News
Photos courtesty World Food Programme

5 July 2006

WFP Executive Director James Morris presented the award after brief remarks at the opening ceremony and dinner of the agency's global meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 18 June.

RI President Bill Boyd, who received the honor on behalf of Rotary, said the world is 99 percent free of polio because of the unprecedented level of cooperation among governments and organizations involved with the effort.

"As much as Rotary has given to this project, in volunteer time and in financial contributions, we could not have begun to try to eliminate polio by ourselves," he noted in an acceptance speech. "The scope is simply too great."

Boyd said that the planning and teamwork that has gone into polio eradication can be applied to the goal of eliminating hunger, WFP's chief concern, on a global scale.

"If we work to fight hunger sustainably, by creating renewable supplies of food within the communities that lack them, we will always be moving forward," he said. "It is not something that anyone could achieve alone. But together, we will do our best. And every step that we take along the path to defeating hunger will be something to celebrate."

Attendees at the award dinner included UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Danish Development Cooperation Minister Ulla Tomaes, and WFP goodwill ambassador Princess Haya of Jordan.

RI will receive another award for its PolioPlus Program in August. The organization is the overall winner of the 2006 Associations Make a Better World Award from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and the Center for Association Leadership.

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