Washington: Shekhar Mehta, chair and founder of real estate development company, Skyline Group, was confirmed president-nominee of Rotary International - a global network of people committed to improving lives and bringing positive, lasting change in communities around the world.
During his one-year term as Rotary’s 111th president beginning on 1 July 2021, Mehta will focus on increasing Rotary’s impact by expanding partnerships with organizations that specialise in Rotary’s areas of focus: promoting peace; fighting disease; providing clean water, sanitation and hygiene; saving mothers and children; supporting education and growing local economies.
“It is an honour to be entrusted with the leadership of such an esteemed organisation,” Mehta said. “I hope to leave a legacy of service, commitment and positive global impact.” Mehta, a member of Rotary for 35 years, belongs to the Rotary Club of Calcutta Mahanagar. As head of Rotary’s global network of 35,000 clubs, Mehta will oversee its top goal of polio eradication. Along with its Global Polio Eradication Initiative partners, Rotary has achieved a 99.9 per cent reduction in polio cases and contributed USD 2 billion to protect more than 2.5 billion children from this paralysing disease. Once considered the most challenging country in the world to eliminate polio, India has been polio-free for more than five years. Rotary is continuing its efforts to maintain the country’s polio-free status.
India’s 3,800 Rotary clubs and 152,000 members address humanitarian challenges and implement sustainable projects. Through Rotary, Mehta has pioneered the TEACH program that promotes literacy throughout India. Mehta aided in establishing 15 eye hospitals in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal. He initiated a program that performed over 1,500 life-changing heart surgeries for children in South Asia.
Mehta has been actively involved in disaster response and is a trustee of Shelterbox in the UK. After the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, he helped build nearly 500 homes for disaster-affected persons. In addition to his service in Rotary, Mehta is the director of Operation Eyesight Universal (India) – a Canada-based organisation.