More than 50,000 Rotary club members from over 160 countries from Belize to Zimbabwe will gather for Rotary’s 107th annual international convention to be held from May 28 to June 1 in Korea.
This will be the most multi-cultural (non-profit) gathering ever with delegates coming from top countries that include Japan (7,000), the United States (2,500), Taiwan (2,300), the Philippines (1,100), India (730), Bangladesh (540), Nepal (390), Australia (370), and Canada (280), withmore than 23,698 Korean Rotary members attending.
According to the Korea Tourism Organization, the Rotary convention is estimated to bring in KRW 292.5 billion to the local economy – which will translate to 1,800 jobs.
This major Rotary convention which has also been described as a “mini-United Nations” because of its global scope and cultural diversity will transform the Korea International Exhibition & Convention Center (KINTEX) into a kaleidoscope of energy, color and excitement as Rotary members exchange ideas on how to improve lives and bring positive, lasting change to communities around the world.
Scheduled for the five-day gathering is a full agenda of workshops where Rotary members will also hear from world-class speakers that includeRanilWickremesingne, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka; and Dr. Rebecca Martin, director of the Center for Global Health at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a bid to widen efforts to end polio worldwide.
Organized by the Rotary International in conjunction with the Seoul Host Organization Committee comprising local Rotary members, and with significant support from the Central Government as well as local governments and the Korea Tourism Organization, the convention will provide registrants with ample opportunities to savor Korea’s numerous attractions such as parks, museums, shopping centers, restaurants and the now-famous Gangnam district.
“With up to 50,000 Rotary members from over 160 countries expected to register for the 2016 Rotary international convention, Korea can expect to witness the impact of a global village gathered under the banner of service to humanity with a vision for a peaceful world,” said Sangkoo Yun, Host Organizing Committee chair.
Making the gathering even more colorful would be the delegates clad in their traditional cultural attire – from Indian saris to West African kente – who will walk in solidarity for world peace through the Rotary 3K Walk for Peace. This will begin at 8:30 a.m. on May 28 at City Hall Plaza for the opening ceremonies. Rotary members will then proceed to Gwanghwamun Square for the Rotary Way Photo Exhibit that will provide a visual representation of the Rotary’s humanitarian work in Korea and around the world.
Following the 3K walk, the photo exhibit will be moved to Co-Ex East Plaza until June 1.
According to Korea Tourism Organization CEO Chang Soo Jung, “The government administration considers tourism and the MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Convention, Exhibition) industry as one of its major projects and is pushing to develop this high-value convergence type of tourism.”
KTO’s MICE Bureau is supporting the convention with on-site cultural experience booths that will help delegates experience Korean culture. These booths include a traditional Korean cloth “hanbok”-wearing experience, Korean craft making plus a special activity that gives a sneak peek into the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
“Through this event, KTO will exert its best to showcase Korea’s beauty and charm to Rotarians from all over the world,” Jung added.
Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members of more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world.
Seoul is home to the first Rotary club established in Korea, chartered in 1927. Today, Korea is the fourth largest Rotary club country with 1,625 clubs and 64,149 members who support various local and international service initiatives that include health programs for infants and toddlers with critical illness and chronic conditions, a multilingual library for children and environmental projects to help reduce the adverse health effects of Yellow Wind dust storms.
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