Rotary International U.N. Day

Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014, I had the privilege of going to the United Nations with other local Rotarians to participate in Rotary Day at the U.N.

“Each year at Rotary UN Day, more than 1300 Rotarians including many Rotary International Directors, Foundation Trustees, past Senior Leaders, and guests come together at UN Headquarters in New York. The program is designed to inspire and educate all participants as well as provide insight into the relationship between Rotary and the United Nations…” (from http://riunday.org/)

It was a wonderfully UPLIFTING and SOBERING experience.

It was uplifting hearing about the positive results of global and single-location programs.

At the Economic Development break out session, the panel spoke about an Entrepreneurship Camp (video) that was held in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in June, 2014. The program included two weeks of business workshops, taught networking skills, and paired each Haitian participant with a mentor with whom he/she will connect periodically via technology.

At the Human Trafficking break out session, the panel spoke about the magnificent progress made in Bihar, India. The programs teach and empower women, at-risk and survivors of slavery and sex trafficking, to make a salary to support themselves.  The audience was introduced to several of the participants in the program via a video. Sadly, we were introduced to a tiny young girl who was later raped and murdered and thrown in a river.

The call to action was to practice conscious buying by purchasing fair trade products. Purchasing fair trade products will raise the demand for products that have been certified to use vendors whose workers are paid legitimate wages and work “regular” hours. The name of one program in Bihar is Nomi Network. Nomi has its own label, and is active in Cambodia as well.

It was sobering to hear the numbers of human beings who still need help, and, in particular the numbers of humans who are being preyed upon by other humans. The statistics related to human trafficking are astounding.

“Approximately 32 million people live in slavery today. This modern day form of slavery is a $99 Billion industry. Said to be the most profitable illicit industry in the world, it is quickly growing and surpassing the illegal sale of drugs and arms.” (from http://NomiNetwork.org)

Staggering information. I will be practicing conscious buying by looking for Fair Trade labels and shopping at the Nomi Network website.

So, it was a surprising day. I expected to network with other Rotarians and learn about programs that I had no knowledge of previously, but, I didn’t expect to return home, still  shaking me in disbelief at the numbers associated with human trafficking and now knowing that my country, the United States of America, the Free country is one of the #1 consumers!

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Here’s some photos of the day:

commencement-speeches

Commencement speeches

entrepreneurship-camp-haiti

Economic Development Panel

karen-callahan-marilyn-perry

Me and Marilyn Perry before session

waiting-for-session-to-start

Fellow Rotarians waiting for session to start

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