Houston Skyline member, PDG D'Lisa Simmons, was a special guest speaker at the Rotary-United Nations event in November 2013.  D'Lisa was invited to tell how her Rotary career has developed since being an Ambassadorial Scholar in 1988, and enabled her to contribute actively to humanity through Rotary. Her compelling story focused on the core values that Rotary teaches and practices for the improvement of society. Her delivery from the UN podium in the General Assembly Room received a standing ovation and sustained applause.



Other featured speakers included Peter Kyle, Rotary’s representative to the World Bank; Jan Eliasson, UN deputy secretary-general; and Andrei Abramov, chief of the nongovernmental organizations branch of the UN’s Economic and Social Council. RI President Ron Burton and senior Rotary leadership provided much insight from the famous UN podium.

The daylong Rotary-UN event offered a unique opportunity to learn how Rotary works with the United Nations to advance peace and improve the lives of those most in need. This year’s event at UN Headquarters in New York City and featured presentations from senior UN staff and Rotary leaders as well as panel discussions on health, water, literacy, and youth.


Rotary and the United Nations have a long history of working together and sharing similar visions for a more peaceful world. In 1942, Rotary clubs from 21 nations organized a conference in London to develop a vision for advancing education, science, and culture after World War II. That event was a precursor to UNESCO. In 1945, 49 Rotarians went to San Francisco to help draft the UN Charter. Rotary and the UN have been close partners ever since, a relationship that’s apparent through PolioPlus and work with UN agencies. “The invitation to Rotary International to participate in the United Nations Conference as consultant to the United States delegation was not merely a gesture of good will and respect toward a great organization. It was a simple recognition of the practical part Rotary’s members have played and will continue to play in the development of understanding among nations. The representatives of Rotary were needed at San Francisco and, as you well know, they made a considerable contribution to the Charter itself, and particularly to the framing of provisions for the Economic and Social Council.” Rotary currently holds the highest consultative status offered to a nongovernmental organization by the UN’s Economic and Social Council, which oversees many specialized UN agencies. Rotary maintains and furthers its relationship with a number of UN bodies, programs, commissions, and agencies through its representative network . This network consists of RI representatives to the United Nations and other organizations.