Special to the Craig Daily Press
Craig Rotary Club members Nancy and Bill Muldoon recently attended the 93rd Annual Convention of Rotary International (RI) held in Barcelona, Spain.
Joining 17,000 Rotarians from hundreds of nations, the Muldoons not only participated in the six-day event, but also volunteered for convention assignments. Both were selected as sergeants-at-arms, helping maintain order at various meetings.
The convention was held at the site of a former international exposition, also the venue for the 1992 Barcelona Olympic games. Convention delegates registered at the House of Friendship, which also included restaurants, special interest booths and displays. The opening ceremonies, held in the indoor stadium that hosted the Barcelona Olympics, included stilt walkers and Castellars, or human towers. Unique to the region of Catalonia, the Castellars formed multi-story towers, an impressive display of strength and balance. Flags of all Rotary nations were paraded into the venue.
In following days, many sessions relative to specific topics were held. One major plan announced at the convention, was Rotary's pledge to continue the worldwide fight against polio, and celebrate the complete eradication of the disease by 2005, the 100th anniversary of Rotary International.
Heading the list of world famous speakers was Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the Soviet Union. Honorary Rotarian Gorbachev spoke for more than an hour on various global concerns and the increased need for service organizations such as Rotary. He is currently president of the International Non-governmental Foundation for Socio-Economic and Political Studies, otherwise known as the Gorbachev Foundation. At the conclusion of his remarks, outgoing Rotary International president Richard King presented Gorbachev with the Rotary International Humanitarian Service award and a $100,000 contribution to the foundation.
The incoming Rotary International president, Bichai Rattakul, was introduced to the delegates. He is a former deputy prime minister of Thailand. President-elect to follow Rattakul will be Jonathan Majiyagbe of Nigeria.
The final plenary session included a performance by entertainer Jerry Lewis, who was also recognized for his lifetime of humanitarian service. Closing the convention was the Mediterranean Symphony Orchestra, and an invitation to delegates to attend next year's International Convention in Brisbane, Australia.
"We are already planning to attend that convention in June 2003," Rotarian Nancy Muldooon said.
Prior to the convention, the Muldoons spent about two weeks in France where they visited former Moffat County High School foreign exchange student Renata Carnet, who was sponsored by the Craig Rotary Club in 1998-1999. She is now a graduate student at the University of Rennes in Brittany.