The five-day Rotary International Congress Wednesday (June 5, 2019) in Hamburg’s Trade Fair Centre after delegate numbers topped the 26,000 mark with guests from 170 countries, 35 keynotes, 98 breakout sessions and over 200 humanitarian projects. The convention proved the largest congress in the history of Hamburg’s Trade Fair, according to the Northern German Broadcasting company NDR. Holger Knaack, who hails from the Hamburg Metropolitan Region, became the first German national to be appointed president of Rotary International and will take office in 2020/21. Rotary’s worldwide community consists of more than 1.2 million honorary members.
Emphasis on curing polio
The 110th Rotary Convention opened officially with a presentation of flags from 200 countries and regions where Rotary is present. “Service to others is an integral part of our mission, whether through the plans and activities of individual clubs, Rotary’s focal points or the transformative support of the Rotary Foundation,” said Barry Rassin, President of Rotary International. Wiping out polio worldwide remains the top priority, he added. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative, of which Rotary is a member, has slashed the number of polio cases by 99.9 per cent since the initiative was launched over 30 years ago. Guest speakers included Dr. Peter Tschentscher, Mayor of Hamburg, and Gerd Mülller, German Minister for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Hamburg Messe – hub of convention
The convention included general sessions on leadership, integrity, service, diversity, and fellowship as well as keynotes and breakout sessions. Around 200 stands in the “House of Friendship” supplied information about Rotary’s global humanitarian projects. The convention closed Wednesday (June 5, 2019) with an event in honour of the Hamburg host committee and others. The congress has been organized since 2015 by Rotary International in Chicago and the Hamburg Convention Bureau GmbH (HCB). The host committee, consisting of local Rotarians and members of the Rotary Youth Organization (ROTARACT), had planned the supporting programme including a welcoming event at the Chamber of Commerce and two concerts by the Rotary Orchestra at the Elbphilharmonie, said Andreas von Möller, joint chairman of the host committee.
Donation of EUR 70,000
The Hamburg-based Mytaxi donated EUR 70,000 generated by trips to and from Hamburg Messe during the congress. The funds will go towards select projects by German Rotary clubs. Overall, the convention is believed to have generated over EUR 24 million in (tourism) revenue, according to Rotary International.” Honolulu in Hawaii will host the next Rotary World Conference June 2020.