Will the real Devin D. Thorpe please stand up?

January has been ‘a bit slow’ for D 1120 ‘stuff’, but there is at least one newsletter that reaches my Inbox with amazing regularity and that is RI’s ‘Polio Plus’ newsletter.  So?  So I followed one of the hyperlinks about a Rotarian who had accompanied other American Rotarians to Ethiopia.  Where they were holding a National Immunisation Day.

This ‘supernum’ on the NID was one Devin Thorpe, he is American with a Financial CEO pedigree and some rather large black glasses that he clearly doesn’t like wearing when his photo is taken.  He is also a Rotarian member of RC Salt Lake City, (does that make him a Mormon?), and he is clearly a Polio eradication enthusiast.  He writes a blog for the ‘Forbes’ financial magazine in New York (Forbes is a journal similar in content to our own ‘Economist’ magazine).  He is extremely prolific, half a dozen since Christmas, ‘enough, already!’ and as a journalist trades under the title of ‘The Social Entrepreneur’.

However Anything, enough of your pipe-laying! what’s the meat?  On 21st July last year he posted a piece with this heading:  World looks anxiously to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria to end polio,  – and it is a four pager with quite a good balance.  (Go to http://www.forbes.com & put Pakistan into the ‘search’ box).  In this article he details a meeting at RI HQ where the heads of the Rotary Polio Committees of theses three countries had been called for ? a crisis meeting.  The Pakistani polio toll in the previous 12 months has been 236 and a total of 60 Rotarians and their bodyguards killed in action.  (His figures guv., not mine!).

Also the photos of the three men – Pakistan is Rtn. Aziz Memom, Chairman of an industrial conglomerate in Pakistan called ‘The King’s Group’.  Also a leading Rotarian of RC Karachi, where he is a resident.  He has been Rotary’s ‘Polio Honcho’ in Pakistan for the last five years.  The Rotarians were killed on his watch, I would like to have a Q & A with Aziz.


I find the above figures fascinating.  Devin also makes the point that the Rotary percentage towards the $6.5 billion estimated to be required to end polio is indeed quite small, the majority coming from national governments and other foundations.

Devin seems to have excellent access to the Rotary press machine.  I get the impression that RI paid for him to go to Ethiopia, but I hadn’t realised there was a problem with polio in Ethiopia.  So are the senior men in the Rotary Foundation being quite frank with us?  Perhaps Devin next time he ‘hops’ east about the globe he might like to pop in and talk to us.

Devin (with glasses)

with acknowledgement to Devin Thorpe, & ‘Forbes’ magazine


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