Marie Curie Dinner-Nov13

The Rotary Club of Edgbaston Convention was delighted to welcome the twelve Marie Curie Fellows, and other members of the DECIDE team, to dinner at its meeting on 11 November 2013.

Club President Martin Smith welcomed the international guests by name, with some difficulties in pronunciation, especially the Polish ones! The visitors represented six countries (Germany, India, Ireland, Poland, Portugal and Spain). Martin explained that ‘Rotary’ is an international organisation of clubs with 1.2 million members who are leaders in their own fields and communities. They provide service and assistance both locally and globally.

Geoff Brown explained that the Marie Curie Fellows are talented young researchers who have been carefully chosen from over 600 applicants. They will work within the DECIDE network which aims to develop better treatments for patients with leukaemia and other cancers. Prof. Andrzej (Andrew) Kutner, DECIDE’s Co-Chair and from the Pharmaceutical Research Institute in Warsaw, Prof. Ewa Marcinkowska, DECIDE’s Meetings Coordinator from the University of Wroclaw, and Caroline Marshall, who leads the FP7 support team in Birmingham, were introduced to the meeting. These persons spoke about their role in the programme.

Former Rotary President of Great Britain and Ireland, David Fowler, spoke about Rotary’s initiative to eradicate the disease of poliomyelitis from the world. He brought to everyone’s attention the campaign began in 1988, when annually 350,000 new cases were reported across the globe in 125 countries. Last year only 223 cases of polio were reported, and the disease is just endemic in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. He commented that it is essential for the world to remain vigilant because a recent outbreak in Syria threatens to reverse decades of progress. This will no doubt stiffen Rotary’s resolve to see the task completed and ensure that no child will have to suffer the crippling effects of polio.

Andrew Kutner gave a vote of thanks on behalf of DECIDE. He commented on the similarities between Rotary and DECIDE in providing service to communities. Indeed, the Rotary ideals of bringing leaders together to exchange ideas and then take action to address the world’s challenges are exemplified in the DECIDE project.

After a most enjoyable evening, meeting, talking and interacting with the Marie Curie Fellows and their team leads, the members of the Rotary Club of Edgbaston Convention look forward to opportunities to meet with them again during their term. Perhaps to a farewell dinner before they eventually leave, to learn about the outcomes of their work.