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The Warsaw Voice » Society » July 6, 2018
OPINION
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Ready to Surprise the World – Again
July 6, 2018   
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A few years ago overseas visitors came to Warsaw and were surprised how elegant and modern it was. Not many had heard about its incredible recent progress and very dynamic growth. Now many of them are returning - Warsaw is being rediscovered.

In 2016 this city applied for the first time to host the giant Convention of Rotary International. We lodged a very professional bid of 5 volumes of documents containing over 500 pages of beautiful graphics plus facts and figures to impress the decision makers. The inspectors and international assessors who subsequently visited Warsaw in August 2017 were surprised by its great infrastructure and modernity. We were assessed very highly and actually got into the final 5, together with such already famous cities like Singapore, Calgary, Gothenburg and Dubai which were selected from more than a dozen international cities which originally applied.

This was a great achievement because people were amazed by Warsaw’s unique features. But there were only 3 dates available and the decision makers overseas, many of whom had still not been to Warsaw before, chose the first 3 of these cities for the dates of 2023, 2024 and 2025. They still needed more time to analyse and understand more fully Warsaw’s amazing growth. We found out later that no new entrant had ever won the honour of winning this competition on their first attempt.

But we have been invited to bid again. This is an opportunity not to be missed because the tens of thousands of well-heeled visitors who come to such a Convention all together spend on average more than $100 mln (nearly 400 mln zlotych) on such an extended visit. They usually spend 5 days at the Convention and then tour around the whole country. Poland will become a new magnet for international visitors, investors and business partners from many walks of life.

Rotarians all over the world number over 1,230,000 members which means that together with their families and friends they are indeed a very large and influential group of people. They comprise business and intellectual leaders of societies in over 200 countries. Together they carry out humanitarian projects focusing on health, education, growing local economies and promoting peace with over 130,000 projects being carried out all over the world at any one time. The eradication of Polio is one of their biggest projects and this disease is now almost totally eradicated from our planet with millions of lives having been saved.

Members of Rotary included such famous people as Bill Gates, Angela Merkel, Pope Francis, John F. Kennedy, Margaret Thatcher and many others.

Warsaw is soon going to apply again for the honour of hosting this giant Rotary International Convention. This time we are applying only for the year 2026 and there are now many new and strong indicators that this will be Warsaw's year for success.

Already many influential people have come back for a return visit and Warsaw has already been selected for a Rotary team leaders’ seminar in April 2019.
The world is finally starting to appreciate all the great features which Warsaw has to offer. The marketing and financial benefits for this city will be enormous both during the main event itself as well during all the years leading up to that RI Convention. “The Rotarian” monthly magazines are delivered to over 150 countries world-wide and there will be a great number of featured stories about Warsaw and Poland after this competition is completed. In addition to Rotary’s electronic media and many social media channels which are also all growing at a very fast rate.

We must now all work together to achieve this very important success for Warsaw and win the right to host an RI Convention in 2026!

Mark Krawczyński
President of Rotary Club Warszawa City 2017-2018.
Acting Chair of Host Organisation Committee for RI Convention in Warsaw.
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