Hon. Amina Gerba: Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to Jennifer Jones, the first woman to hold the high office of president of Rotary International.
Founded in 1905, Rotary International is now one of the largest charitable organizations in the world. It has more than 1.4 million members, spread over 35,000 Rotary clubs across five continents.
Its members are mainly entrepreneurs and professionals who have distinguished themselves in their sectors of activity. As a member myself and a Paul Harris Fellow, that is to say a recognized donor of Rotary International, I had the privilege of serving as president of the Rotary Club of Old Montreal. “Serving first:” this is the vocation of Rotary International, to serve those most in need, by ensuring the financing of humanitarian works at the local and international level.
Dear colleagues, the appointment of Canadian Jennifer Jones as head of Rotary International is a great honour for our country. A Rotarian since 1997, Jennifer Jones has served the organization well, including as district governor, committee chair, training leader, vice-president, and now president. This journey is noteworthy in an organization that originally did not even accept women as members.
In becoming president of Rotary International, Ms. Jones shattered a major glass ceiling that for the past 115 years has blocked women, or a woman, from accessing the highest office in the organization, the presidency of Rotary International.
Colleagues, join me in warmly congratulating our fellow citizen Jennifer Jones. We wish her a happy and fruitful term as president of Rotary International for the year 2022-23.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.