“BUILDING BRIDGES – GOODWILL & FRIENDSHIP”
APRIL 26 – 28    THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO
Submitted by: Clint Kuschak 
 
Our District Conference in 2018 will host many opportunities to “build bridges of goodwill and friendship”.  Our speakers are at the heart of the Conference.  They have much to share about building bridges of understanding peace and we are honoured to welcome them.  
DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH                      
Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish is a man who walks the walk and who leads by example. A five-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, he is fondly known as the “Martin Luther King of the Middle East”, having dedicated his life to using health as a vehicle for peace. Despite all odds, he has succeeded remarkably; aided by a great determination of spirit, strong faith, and a stalwart belief in hope and family. As a Palestinian physician and internationally recognized human rights and inspirational peace activist, Dr. Abuelaish is devoted to advancing health and education opportunities for women and girls in the Middle East, through both his research and his charitable organization The Daughters for Life Foundation.
 
Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish was born and raised in Jabalia Refugee Camp in the Gaza Strip. He is the first Palestinian doctor to receive an appointment in Medicine at an Israeli hospital. Through his work, he has experienced firsthand the impacts of conflict in countries like Palestine, Egypt, Israel, Uganda, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia. His experience working as both an insider and outsider to conflict has led him to believe that doctors are particularly well-poised to serve as peace-makers, based on the moral doctrine of their profession. His work as both a healthcare practitioner and a peace advocate builds on this philosophy and mobilizes health as a tool for peace.
 
Dr. Abuelaish has overcome many personal hardships, including poverty, violence, and the horrific tragedy of his three daughters’ and niece’s deaths in the 2009 Gaza War. He continues to live up to the description bestowed upon him by an Israeli colleague, as a “magical, secret bridge between                   
Israelis and Palestinians”. He is now one of the most outspoken, prominent, and beloved researchers, educators and public speakers on peace and development in the Middle East.
 
Dr. Abuelaish’s impact on peace-seeking communities is exceptional. He is an internationally-renowned speaker, having spoken at the Canadian House of Commons, the American Congress, the Chilean Senate and Parliament, the European Parliament at Place Du Luxembourg in Brussels, the State Department, Forum 2000 in Prague, and many more. Dr. Abuelaish has also spoken at academic institutions and organizations in Canada, the United States, Europe, Africa, and Austral-Asia. He has shared the stage with several Nobel Peace Laureates such as Senator Romeo Dallaire, Dr. James Orbinski, Shirin Ebadi (Iran), Leymah Gbowee (Liberia).  Dr. Abuelaish’s book, I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity, an autobiography of his loss and transformation, has achieved worldwide critical acclaim. Published in 2010, (currently in 23 different languages), and inspired by the loss of his three daughters – Bessan, Mayar, and Aya – and their cousin Noor to Israeli shelling on January 16th, 2009, the book has become an international bestseller. It has also become a testament to his commitment to forgiveness as the solution to conflict and the catalyst towards peace.
 
 
ANN LEE HUSSEY
Ann Lee Hussey of South Berwick, Maine has made the eradication of polio and the alleviation of suffering by polio survivors her life’s work.  Over the past several years she has actively participated in 29 volunteer NID (National Immunization Days) teams organizing and leading the last 26 teams herself, choosing to take those NIDs to places that do not often see westerners – Chad, Mali, Bangladesh, Niger, Nigeria, Madagascar as well as less “touristy” destinations in Egypt and India – where the need is greatest and where the publicity and goodwill surrounding the trip are as critical as the immunizations themselves to help communicate the need for eradication.  She is leading a team to Nigeria in October for her 29th NID.
 
She has shared her story and passion hundreds of times at numerous Zone Institutes, District Conferences, PETS and Foundation events, carrying the message of PolioPlus around the Rotary world and beyond, raising money and creating new converts to the fight.  She is determined that no child will needlessly have to suffer what she herself, a polio survivor, has been through.  Her concern for polio survivors includes working to ensure mobility and dignity for those who survived the disease but did not have access to the kinds of surgeries and treatments that she was able to receive.  And has led many RI grants to this end.
 
Ann Lee has put a face on the subject of polio eradication, winning hearts and minds and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process.  A polio survivor herself, the story Ann Lee tells is personal, and so is her fight to eradicate polio. 
 
But for all the immunizations Ann Lee has herself made possible through NIDs, she considers fundraising and public awareness her most critical accomplishments.  Ann Lee’s work has earned her the International Service Award for a Polio-Free World, the Rotary Service Above Self Award and she was honored as a White House Champion of Change for her humanitarianism and contributions to public service, aimed at improving people’s lives and making a better future around the globe. She was featured in the magazine Real Simple in June 2012. She was featured in a video in Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Annual Letter for February 2017. In March 2017, Rotary and The World Bank recognized her as a Woman of Action celebrating International Day of Women.  Locally in her home state of Maine, she was honored at the Maine State Senate chamber for her remarkable achievements and included in Maine Magazine as one of the 50 Mainers of 2017 who have changed our world, improved our lives, and broadened our horizons.
 
Ann Lee is a member of the Rotary Club of Portland Sunrise in Maine and served District 7780 in many capacities including as Governor in 2010-2011. Currently she serves, as Adviser to Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee and as Rotary’s representative on the Global Polio Eradication Transition Management Group.  She is CEO of the Polio Survivors Rotarian Action Group and Chair of the RAGs Chair Council for 2016-2018. She also currently serves as Chair of The Fellowship of Rotarian PDGs.  
 
PDG Pamela Russell
Pam Russell joined the La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club in San Diego, California, USA in 1998.  Her 30-year career at IBM gave her the skills to be an effective Rotarian.  In her club, she has served in many capacities including Club President in 2003-2004.  Today she continues as the club’s Foundation Treasurer.  She was District 5340 Governor in 2008-2009 and was District Rotary Foundation Chair under the Future Vision Pilot Program.  
 
Pam has served as a trainer for presidents-elect, district foundation chairs, governors-nominee and governors-elect in zones across the United States.  The Rotary Foundation (TRF) asked her to serve as a Future Vision Trainer for International Assembly and for Zones 21B/27 and 25/26 Institutes.  She has been the Regional Rotary Foundation Coordinator and is currently the Endowment/Major Gifts Adviser in Zone 26. 
 
Pam is a member of the TRF Programs Committee and Water & Sanitation Major Gifts Initiative Committee. 
 
Besides training and Rotary Foundation activities, Pam has been deeply involved in Zone and International Institutes and has represented the Rotary International President at many District Conferences.  She served as team leader for two Vocational Training Team global grants (Uganda and Central Asia) and is currently working on six global grant scholarships.  She received The Rotary Foundation Citation for Meritorious Service.
 
Outside of Rotary, Pam was a University Regent and member of the Alumni Board at Pacific Lutheran University. 
 
Pam and her husband Alan are Major Donors and members of the Bequest Society.  They became charter members of the Paul Harris Society in 1999 and have retained their membership continuously ever since.
 
ALLAN MALLORY
Alan is an international speaker, author and professional development trainer who is passionate about human performance and leadership. He graduated from Queen’s University and has worked all over the world as a mechanical engineer and project manager in the field of custom machine design.
 
His love for innovation is complimented by his true passion: working with people to reach new heights in the way we think and the actions we take. Alan is a member of the Barrie Rotary Club in District 7010 and has always had a keen interest in discovering what drives us to do what we do and how we can use this knowledge to improve our lives and the lives of those around us. Alan is also an avid adventurer and outdoor enthusiast who enjoys many different activities but his favourite are those spent out in the wilderness and those that involve strategy and problem solving. In the spring of 2008, he and his family set a world record after an incredible self-guided expedition on Mount Everest. He delivers a number of exciting presentations and training programs that are all about embracing and working through challenges as well as exploring the skills and mindsets that allow great leaders and committed teams to achieve breakthrough performance.
 
EMMA McDONALD, MPH
Emma was born and raised on the shores of Lake Superior in Thunder Bay Ontario. Her Rotary involvement started earlier than most, as she accompanied her father to various meetings and events starting at about the age of 9. In High School, she was involved in her local Interact Club and attended camp RYLA 5580. From there she increased her involvement, joining the Rotaract Club of Thunder Bay, and serving as president for two terms. Emma became a Rotarian in 2014 and since then has transferred a few times as her work takes her from place to place.
 
Emma has always been passionate about the health and wellbeing of vulnerable populations. During her masters she had to opportunity to work on an evaluation of FullSoul Canada’s maternal medical kit program in rural Uganda. It seemed very “full circle” that she use her knowledge and skills to improve a program funded mostly by Rotary Clubs such as the ones she had been involved with for most of her life.
 
Upon graduation from her masters she accepted a job with the Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority working on the development of an integrated First Nations governed public health system for Ontario’s far north. She has since moved to Kenora Ontario to work with the Public Health Unit as a Planning and Evaluation Specialist. The contrast of Ontario’s far North and Rural Uganda is startling but perhaps not as startling as the similarities. Emma hopes to continue working to improve the health of people on this continent and others through both her work and the power of Rotary. 
 
ANDY WELLS
 
In America, dreams can come true, even for people who are challenged or live in poverty.  As a Native American child, Andy Wells survived from the land with his family in a one-room house on the Red Lake Indian Reservation.  Growing to an adult in a poverty community, families survived by helping each other; but Andy also saw many social problems created by a shortage of education and high unemployment, especially for those who had personal challenges in life. 
 
In 1989, Andy made a career decision to get out of his comfort zone, resign from his employment, and begin helping his community live beyond survival so they could transition into thriving as an industrial community.  Therefore, at the age of 45, Andy became an entrepreneurial employer with a mission of providing jobs and self-supporting income for unemployed families in his community.  To begin, Andy used an old garage and his life savings of $1,300 to form a new manufacturing business called Wells Technology.  As his business grew, Andy became aware of the many disadvantaged people who applied for jobs, but did not meet typical qualifications.  Rather than turn these individuals away who were unprepared for employment, he began providing basic job training to help challenged people prepare for industry and employment.
 
By 2005, the job training program Andy founded had grown into a non-profit 501-c3 corporation called Wells Academy Inc.  Andy’s mission at Wells Academy was to create a more inclusive employee staff by providing job training and character development to disadvantaged and challenged people.  To succeed where family or public systems had failed, Wells Academy became innovative in providing marketable industrial skills, technical knowledge, and positive life values.  For his success with creating innovative skill training and jobs, Andy has received numerous prestigious state and national awards in recognition of his leadership in building a better America where dreams do come true.