Governor Sarah Palin has announced the seven companies and international organizations that won the Governor's North Star Awards for International Excellence. The awards were presented by Commissioner Emil Notti at the Export Alaska luncheon in Anchorage, attended by more than 150 Alaskans. "I'm proud of our state's broad range of outstanding international activity," Governor Palin said. "From the export of aviation technology to cultural exchange to the visitor industry, Alaskans know how to promote positive international relations. It's a privilege to honor this hard-working group.
Included among the seven recipients of the esteemed award was Rotary District 5010 which includes 3 clubs in the Kenai/Soldotna area, 2 in Homer and 1 in Seward, "Rotary District 5010 spans the Russian Far East, Alaska and the Yukon. For one of dozens of their humanitarian projects, Alaska Rotarians invited Russian Rotarians and doctors to Alaska for a first-hand look at health care institutions. While in Homer, the group witnessed a Rotary Community Health Fair. As a result of this visit and other work, Rotary International headquarters in the USA provided a $330,000 grant in 2007 to support a three-year program to expand Rotary health fairs in Russia. Fifteen permanent health fair centers in Russia have been established and these centers provided materials and training for health fairs in more than 50 additional cities in Russia," said Governor Palin.
According to Rotary District 5010 Governor Clyde Boyer, "The District Governors who have served in the last five years have made 30 trips and
completed more than 250 community visits. Their cumulative 28 months on the ground across Siberia and the Russian-Far-East represents a tremendous investment in friendship and mutual understanding between Alaskans and the Russian people. Community Service is a cornerstone of every Rotary Club, and in Russia this service frequently takes the form of humanitarian aid to the neediest in each community. Projects target orphanages, nursing homes, mental health facilities and hospitals."
"This award was meaningful to all of us;" said Tom Janz, Kenai River Rotary president, "because it shows what Rotary is doing through individuals, clubs, and districts around the world. We think about Rotary and its efforts to eliminate polio, or locally at scholarship time, or we may hear about local community service projects or exchange student programs our clubs do, but this award speaks to our creative efforts to enhance the quality of life to our neighbors to the west," said Janz.
Other winners of the Governor's North Star Awards for International Excellence included Condor Airlines which operates four passenger flights per week between Germany and Alaska, ADS-B Technologies, based in Alaska which has exported more than $5 million of next- generation air traffic management technology worldwide, the Ketchikan-Kanayama Exchange which brings Japanese middle school students from Kanayama, Japan each spring to live with Ketchikan families, the Alutiiq Museum which has successfully spearheaded the effort to bring a significant collection of 34 Alutiiq masks and one bowl held in France back to Kodiak, and the Alaska World Affairs Council, founded before Alaska became a state and provides a wide range of educational informative programs.
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