Many who work in the field of international development think of governments and large multilateral development institutions like the IMF and World Bank along with other large NGOs as the real players in that space. Increasingly, however, business is playing a role as more people in the commercial world recognize both the responsibility and the opportunities in that arena.
One person who is an international development expert with a dual perspective is the general secretary of Rotary International, John Hewko.
Hewko explains, “Rotary members, by and large, are business and professional leaders who understand the intersection between commerce and cause, and I think Rotary can play a significant role in helping to bridge the gap that exists between the development community and the private sector. Both sides need to work hand-in-glove to achieve maximum development in these developing markets.”
“We tap into a global network of Rotarians who invest their time, money, and expertise into our priorities, such as eradicating polio and promoting peace,” Hewko adds.
By way of example, Hewko reminds us, “Rotary has contributed more than US$1.3 billion dollars and committed countless volunteer hours to fight polio.”
Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members of more than 34,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world.
John Hewko is the general secretary of Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation.
From 2004 to 2009, Hewko was vice president for operations and compact development for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a U.S. government agency established in 2004 to deliver foreign assistance to the world’s poorest countries. At MCC, he was the principal United States negotiator for foreign assistance agreements to 26 countries in Africa, Asia, South America, the Middle East, and the former Soviet Union. During his tenure, he completed the negotiation of assistance agreements totaling $6.3 billion to 18 countries for infrastructure, agriculture, water and sanitation, health, and education projects.
Prior to joining MCC, Hewko was an international partner with the law firm Baker & McKenzie, specializing in international corporate transactions in emerging markets. He helped establish the firm’s Moscow office and was the managing partner of its offices in Kyiv and Prague.
While working in Ukraine in the early 1990s, Hewko assisted the working group that prepared the initial draft of the new Ukrainian post-Soviet constitution and was a charter member of the first Rotary club in Kyiv.
Hewko has been a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University, and a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He has published papers and articles in leading U.S. and international publications, and he has spoken extensively on political and business issues dealing with the former Soviet Union, Central Europe, Africa, and Latin America. He is also a member of the Council of Foreign Relations.
Hewko holds a law degree from Harvard University, a master’s in modern history from Oxford University (where he studied as a Marshall Scholar), and a bachelor’s in government and Soviet studies from Hamilton College in New York.
As general secretary, Hewko leads a diverse staff of 800 at Rotary International’s World Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA, and seven international offices. Hewko is a Paul Harris Fellow. He and his wife, Margarita, live in Evanston.
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