Rotary Club of New York

October 17, 2003


Remarks by

Greg Lynch


Delivered at

The National Arts Club

New York, New York


Governor Sullivan, Distinguished Ambassadors, Your Excellencies, Fellow Rotarians, National Arts Club Friends, Honored Guests, Friends and Family,


On behalf of the Officers, the board of Directors and the membership of the Rotary Club of New York, WELCOME to this, our 8th Evening of Harmony.


Last night, I was up well after midnight, as no doubt many of you were, watching the Yankees clinch the American League pennant.  As a native Bostonian, brought up in the shadow of Fenway Park, the prospect of this final contest had me torn.  Nostalgia for my childhood roots or loyalty to my status as a real “New Yorker”.  It was a thrilling game!  Indeed, for those who witnessed the contest, it was a credit to many, many players from both Boston and New York and to the dedication of both baseball organizations.  It was Great Baseball.  …And besides, New York won.


Tonight, at this beautiful event, we are here to have fun, to enjoy the beauty of the family home of former New York Governor Tilden, now turned club and historic monument.   This is an evening of elegance and enchantment, and, most certainly, it is, as we Rotarians say, an occasion for fellowship and certainly one for making new friends.


Yet all this mood of celebration and fellowship would ring hollow, if there were no further significance to our coming together.  For here tonight, we recognize those whose hard work and dedication bring credit to Rotary.  We also open our hearts in the commemoration of inspired personal sacrifice, demanded in our City’s moment of crisis and time of need.

Our Founder, Paul Harris, whose image you see emblazoned on tonight’s program, dubbed the Rotary Club of New York the “Host Club of America”.  Since our Club’s inception in 1909 and for the past 94 years, we have honored that tradition of hospitality, welcoming Rotarians, scholars, exchange participants and those seeking to better to lot of mankind in our own community and across the world.  For the tens of thousands of new bonds of friendship and service forged, we are justly honored.  For the generosity of our members in building the Foundation of the Rotary Club of New York and in supporting projects for the young, the sick, the defenseless and the gifted, here in our City and across the Globe, we are justly proud.


Rotary has another strong commitment, one started over 50 years again San Francisco, at the signing of the United Nations Charter.  That commitment is support the fundamental freedoms, human right and human dignity – peace, security and shared prosperity.  Tonight, we have in our midst certain of those individuals, whose hard work and dedication is helping make the United Nations, an organization on which the peoples of the world increasingly rely.  The thriving partnership, between Rotarians and the United Nations Organization, provides a challenge to all of us.  A challenge to work together, to combat hunger and disease, particularly the eradication of the wild polio virus, and to free all the peoples of this planet from war, pestilence and poverty.  We are called upon to make a monumental effort, Rotary and the United Nations together.  Not in competition but in cooperation.  Together we will demonstrate our shared capacity for Service above Self and marshal our resources for the continuing challenge and the continuing success that awaits us. 


Tonight, we have the distinct honor and pleasure to bring to your attention two heroes in that combined effort, partners with whom we of New York Rotary and Rotary International collaborate to help envision and to create that shining edifice on the hill, that which is the future of mankind in all its dignity and all its potential.


I now have the honor to call to the podium two members of our Club, themselves tireless in their commitment to cooperation in and with the United Nations, who will help us honor our very special guests.  Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Sylvan Barnet and Commandatore Giorgio Balestrieri, who will make the formal presentations to Madagascar’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, His Excellency Ambassador Zina Andrianarivelo, Chairman of the UN Public-Private Alliance for Rural Development and to Land O’Lakes, Inc. whose business practices in the sector of rural development were recently  endorsed in the Ministerial Declaration of ECOSOC