By Ariel Miller and Laurie Zuckerman.

Judith Diment, MBE, who led Rotary International’s delegation to the UN Climate Conference in Dubai, will give a special report to ESRAG’s Projects Seminar on February 7 at 14:00 UTC.  Don’t miss this Zoom event, which will include simultaneous translation in Spanish and Portuguese!  Register here.

2023 marked the first time Rotary has hosted a pavilion at a major global event alongside governments, UN agencies, NGOs, academia, and business.  Rotary had two pavilions at COP 28: one in the Blue Zone where formal negotiations take place, and one in the Green Zone open to the public.  COP – the Conference of Parties – is the United Nation’s annual conference where governments and key leaders work out their commitments to mitigate climate change and build resilience.

With vital help from ESRAG leaders including past Chair Dr. Chris Puttock, who chairs the Council of Rotary Action Groups, Rotary hosted 30 breakout sessions throughout COP 28 on theme days covering the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and held myriad discussions with other stakeholders in government, business, and civil society. 

As Dean of the Rotary Representative Network, Judith Diment is Rotary’s senior diplomat. 2023 was the third time she has led an official Rotary delegation to COP. The 2023 delegation was the largest leadership team ever to participate from Rotary; it included RI President Gordon McInally, Rotary Foundation Chair Barry Rassin, Rotary General Secretary and Chief Executive Officer John Hewko, and Mohamed Delawar, Rotary’s representative to the Arab League.  ESRAG Chair Dr. Yasar Atacik, ESRAG Projects Chair Dr. Mina Venkataraman, and Salvador Rico, leader of Cleaning the Rivers of the World, contributed ESRAG’s multidisciplinary expertise and global networks. Rotary International President Nominee Mário César Martins de Camargo, The Rotary Foundation Trustee Aziz Memon, and Rotary International Director Faiz Kidwai attended. Speakers included ESRAG Africa Chapter Co-Chair Felix Kimani, and Rotaract leaders from several nations also played vital roles giving presentations in the Green Zone.

We are very honored that Judith Diment has joined ESRAG. As Dean of the Rotary Representatives to the United Nations and International Agencies, she leads a team of 30 Rotary Ambassadors and also serves as Rotary Representative to the Commonwealth. She has worked on advocacy for polio eradication for more than 20 years and is Vice Chair of International PolioPlus Committee, which recommends grants to WHO and UNICEF of up to $150 million annually. She has represented Rotary at World Health Assembly and WHO Executive Board meetings since 2013, and at Commonwealth Heads of Governments meetings since 2015. Judith Diment was named a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) by HM Queen Elizabeth for services to charity, was inducted as a Freeman of the City of London in 2023. Ms. Diment received the Rotary Service above Self Award in 2016.