Posted on Jun 27, 2018
Solana Beach ECO Rotary Club members, Carl Kosnar, Andi Kosnar, Lynn Stevens and Richard Stevens, Past District Governor of Rotary District 5340, attended the 109th Rotary International Convention in Toronto this past week along with 25,000 Rotarians from over 100 countries.
Former First Lady of the United States Laura Bush, an advocate for literacy, education, and women’s rights, was one of the guest speakers. Another speaker, Jane Nelson, Director, Corporate Responsibility Initiative, Harvard Kennedy School, talked about Public-Private Partnership and Sustainable Development programs that she supports. Caryl Stern, President of UNICEF USA, spoke about how UNICEF saves children’s lives all over the world and how “just one person” can make a difference so everyone should be involved in helping others.
There were many other notable speakers who discussed the good work of Rotarians in their communities, focusing their efforts in our six key areas:
• Peace and conflict prevention/resolution
• Disease prevention and treatment
• Water and sanitation
• Maternal and child health
• Basic education and literacy
• Economic and community development
We also attended sessions on sustainability to learn what clubs all over the world are doing to plant trees, supply clean water, and educate children so that they can also be involved.
But our favorite speaker was Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. He was not a scheduled speaker and was only announced the evening before he spoke. His speech was a refreshing combination of optimism and human dignity expressing the Rotarian values of ethical, legal, and political discourse as a foundational commitment to all people. He thanked Rotary for all it’s work in Canada, especially the effort to eradicate polio. Prime Minister Trudeau received several standing ovations from a very receptive Rotarian audience.
We also found time to explore Toronto’s neighborhoods and found wonderful restaurants, too many to mention. A favorite was recommended by a Canadian friend, Cluny Bistro, in the Distillery Historic District.
And finally, perhaps the best part of an International Convention is meeting Rotarians from all over the world who share our mission - “To educate ourselves and our communities about environmental challenges and engage in implementing their solutions.”
Andi & Carl                   Lynn & Richard