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Cyprus president praises Rotary efforts to eradicate Polio

20 January, 2014

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades received on Sunday the Paul Harris Fellow recognition, a recognition given as an appreciation to an individual for their substantial contribution to the Rotary’s humanitarian and educational programme.

The recognition was awarded during a charity dinner organised by the Cyprus Rotary Clubs at the Presidential Palace in support of the worldwide project spearheaded by Rotary International to eradicate polio.

The aim of Rotary is to eradicate polio by making a global impact and protecting children against polio forever.

Addressing the event, Anastasiades said he fully supports the Rotary efforts to end polio by 2018 and committed himself to spread the message to other world leaders, asking them to support Rotary’s effort.

He also praised the community work accomplished by Rotarians within Cyprus throughout the years, noting that among the great achievement of Cyprus Rotary is their success to unite Greek and Turkish Cypriot Rotarians under the same roof, without politics being a stumbling block for cooperation among you.

“You are a living example that the two communities can live and work harmoniously together for the common good. You are an example that we politicians should imitate in order to reunite our country,” he said and extended a special welcome to the Turkish Cypriots Rotarians who attended the dinner.

He urged the Cyprus Rotary Clubs to intensify their efforts, “as the recent economic crisis has generated unprecedented needs to a lot of our compatriots. Influential service organizations such as Rotary have definitely a role to play supplementing the efforts of the state.”

Anastasiades said it was a great honour for him to be pinned twice as a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Clubs of Limassol and Nicosia Lefkothea.

“I accept this award in full consciousness of its importance, as it is the highest recognition offered to a non Rotarian, bearing the name of its founder. I have no doubt that the $2,000 donated in my name by the two clubs will be utilised by the Rotary Foundation for a worthy cause such as the complete eradication of polio from the planet,” he noted.

He said that Rotary is an outstanding organisation, which trhough its work around the globe is striving to make the world a better place by initiatives to support health care, education and the alleviation of poverty.

With regard to efforts to eradicate polio he said that “there is no doubt that what has been achieved is remarkable”, and referred to the systematic vaccination of 2.5 billion children even in the most distant places of the world that led to a 99% decrease in the number of Polio paralysis cases and its containment in only three endemic countries.

“There is no doubt that such an achievement required a lot of money, great organisational and operational expertise, as well as thousands of hours of voluntary work by selfless individuals; the epitome of Rotary and Rotarians,” he added, noting at the same time that “unless Polio is totally eradicated from the face of the earth, no child anywhere in the world can feel safe.