LONDON, UK (December 16, 2013) — Rotary International recognized Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II  on Monday,16 December with the Rotary International Award of Honor to celebrate the 60th anniversary of her Coronation. Her Majesty The Queen, who has graciously accepted this prestigious honor, has supported Rotary’s polio eradication and humanitarian programs.

The award was presented on behalf of Rotary International at Buckingham Palace, London. Since 1990, the President of Rotary International has granted the Rotary International Award of Honor to deserving individuals. Past recipients of the Rotary International Award of Honor include the late Nelson Mandela, State President, Republic of South Africa; His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI; UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan and the late King Hussein of Jordan.

Her Majesty The Queen, who celebrated the 60th anniversary of her Coronation this year, sent her good wishes for the year ahead to all Rotary Club Members in the United Kingdom and throughout the Commonwealth and applauds Rotary for its polio eradication program and advocacy efforts: “I am pleased that Commonwealth governments are playing their part in tackling disease and improving health for all. Polio, for example, used to cast its shadow across many countries. Today, thanks to concerted international action, just a handful still need to eliminate polio.”

When Rotary launched its PolioPlus program in 1985, polio struck more than 1,000 children around the world every day. Although the disease is at its lowest levels ever—just 223 reported cases in 2012—polio has never been stopped in Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

Rotary made polio eradication its top philanthropic goal in 1985. As the volunteer arm of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), Rotary has contributed more than US$1.2 billion and countless hours of volunteer service to ending polio. This includes nearly ₤20 million contributed by the more than 53,000 members of Rotary clubs in the United Kingdom. To date, more than two billion children have been immunized against the paralyzing and sometimes deadly poliovirus.

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative includes the World Health Organization, Rotary International, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

About Rotary

Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members of more than 34,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work impacts lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world.

For more information, visit Rotary.org or Rotary’s Media Center

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Contacts: Judith Diment, +44 (0)1628 672965, 07860 162313  judith@thediments.co.uk

Stéphanie Tobler Mucznik, +41 44-387-7116, stephanie.tobler@rotary.org