Lebanon hosts the Rotary Presidential Conference 2018
Under the patronage and in presence of His Excellency the President of the Lebanese Republic, General Michel Aoun, Rotary opened its annual Presidential Conference 2018 at Phoenicia hotel in Beirut under the title “Water, Sanitation, Hygiene, and Peace”, on February 16, spreading over two consecutive days, Saturday 17 and Sunday 18.
At the opening ceremony, the President of the Lebanese Republic made a speech in which he thanked Rotary for its projects in Lebanon, mainly for “ensuring access to clean potable water for the students of Public Schools, a humanitarian project by excellence”. “Choosing Lebanon as a host country for this conference comes on the backdrop of the positive results that this project has achieved”, he added.
The President also shed light on the pressure borne by Lebanon at the economic, social, and humanitarian levels due to the huge influx of displaced Syrians and refugees into Lebanon, saying the impact of displacement has become excruciating. Aoun underlined the dire need for a solution in this regard, and reiterated that it has become urgent to find an efficient and appropriate solution.
The audience was welcomed by the Chairman of the Conference Organizing Committee the past District Governor Jamil Mouawad who called for the “adoption of sustainable, comprehensive, and long-term practices in water management to achieve the development goal”, and by District 2452 Governor Christina Covotsou-Patroclou, who stressed that “water is essential for peace because it is a source of life and without it we cannot survive”.
The Rotary International President Ian Riseley highlighted the positive impact that water projects can have on school children. “A project that puts clean water and sanitation in a school, for example, is going to advance not only water and sanitation, but also basic education and literacy, disease preservation, and child death”, he stressed.
In a speech he delivered, the Former Secretary General of the Arab League, H.E. Dr. Amr Moussa, said that water is one of the major problems that we face nowadays as it constitutes a scarce resource, thus calling for a “shared awareness in facing this problem”.
Alfa chairman and CEO Marwan Hayek said that “the internet can be used to help avoid water pollution like using smart irrigation and smart farming technology”.
The opening ceremony hosted ministers, deputies, Rotarian Governors, Presidents of the Rotary clubs, presidents and members of the conference’s organizing committees, in addition to a number of journalists and reporters.
The conference aims at spreading awareness about water among governments and individuals, highlighting the significance of water as a highly important resource, and providing advice about water, health, hygiene and all their relevant issues. Questions such as climate change, global warming, and the impact of the economic development, the displacement and the geopolitical issues on water in the Middle East will be raised during the next two days. The conference will host a number of speakers, including the Minister of Information Melhem Riachi, the Minister of Telecommunications Jamal El Jarrah, the Minister of Health Ghassan Hasbani, among many other ministers and lawmakers. It will further include workshops about the importance of hygiene and health in the Lebanese Public Schools, so as to spread awareness among them and help them provide clean water for their students and guarantee the sustainability of their water filtration systems.
Rotary operates within a network of more than 35,000 clubs in more than 210 countries around the world, working in cooperation on promoting peace, fighting diseases, securing clean, potable water and hygiene, preventing diseases for mothers and children, supporting education, and growing local economies. Among the main activities that Rotary undertakes, is the Presidential Conference, launched every year, aiming at establishing a connection between peace and Rotary’s work fields. This year, Rotary decided to hold its annual conference in Lebanon, which opened its doors to all the Rotarian presidents and members coming from all across the world.