Thailand, March 8, 2012 — An estimated 38,000 Rotary club members from all around the world are due to be in Thailand between May 3-9, 2012, for what is projected to be a record-breaking convention, the first global Rotary event to be held here.

Bearing the theme, “Reach Within to Embrace Humanity,” the 2012 Rotary International Convention between May 6-9, 2012 is expected to generate roughly three billion Baht in visitor income. Expected to be Thailand’s biggest convention ever, it will be preceded by a number of advance events; such as, the Rotary World Peace Symposium and Rotary Alumni Celebration between May 3-5.

The convention is an annual gathering of global Rotary club members, comprising of more than 1.2 million business people and professionals from all walks of life. There are now more than 34,000 clubs in more than 200 countries. The 2012 event will mark the 103rd such convention and was last held in New Orleans, Louisiana, last year.

The last major Rotary convention hosted by Thailand was the 1996 Asia Regional Conference in October 1996 which had a turnout of 15,000 delegates.

Thailand won the bid to host the 2012 international convention in 2004 against competition from Australia and Brazil. It is being supported by all the clubs of Rotary Thailand, the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), Office of the Prime Minister, Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, Thai Airways International, Tourism Authority of Thailand, and related public and private agencies.

TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni said it would be a delight to welcome so many high-level delegates to Thailand in this very important year for the Thai people.

“This year, the Thai people are commemorating the auspicious occasion of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 7th cycle 84th Birthday, the 80th birthday of Her Majesty the Queen, and 60th birthday of HRH Crown Prince Vachiralongkorn. These are very important events and we are overjoyed to have the Rotarians and their families join us in celebrating them.”

The Governor noted that the timing was perfect for the event. “May is school-holiday month and also the start of our Green Monsoon season. Traffic conditions will be minimal in Bangkok, and the weather will be much cooler. It will be a wonderful month to shop, travel and enjoy the sights of sounds of the country.”

The Rotary International Convention is an opportunity for the members to discuss their various global projects and activities aimed at helping people to improve their quality of life. Six key topics of discussion are peace and conflict prevention/resolution, disease prevention and treatment, water and sanitation, maternal and child health, basic education and literacy, and economic and community development.

In line with these humanitarian objectives, Rotary projects are focused on helping needy people in remote areas. It has become tradition that, every time the Rotary International Convention is held, many existing social improvement projects of the host country stand to benefit greatly.

The Rotary International Convention also acts as a platform for cultural exchange. Every evening, throughout the course of the 2012 event, Thailand will have the opportunity to conduct recreational activities and/or performances for the delegates.

At the same time, the tri-annual Rotary World Peace Symposium, last staged in 2009 in Birmingham, England, will present a great opportunity to promote Thailand to world communities as a progressive, peaceful country. Thailand already has one of the six Rotary Peace Centres in the world, located at Chulalongkorn University.

Especially important this year is the theme “Reach Within to Embrace Humanity,” which was announced in 2011 by RI President-elect Kalyan Banerjee. He said, “In order to achieve anything in this world, a person has to use all the resources he/she can draw on. And the only place to start is with ourselves and within ourselves.”

Citing Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi’s call to “be the change you wish to see in the world,” Mr Banerjee said Rotarians should also focus on change.

“If we wish for peace, we start by living in peace ourselves, in our homes and in our communities,” he explained. “If we wish environmental degradation to stop, if we wish to reduce child mortality or to prevent hunger, we must be the instrument of that change — and recognise that it must start within us, with each of us.”