This summer Dong Kurn Lee will become Korea's first international president of the Rotary Club. Yesterday, he visited Birmingham ahead of next year's Centenary Convention in the city.
Dong Kurn Lee has big ambitions. "There are 26,000 children dying every day because of preventable causes and diseases. So what I am going to do in my year is try and reduce child mortality," he says.
"I know you can't solve that kind of problem in one year but a Korean proverb says 'starting is half of the war'."
Mr Lee's lofty ambitions are perhaps not as outlandish as they may at first seem.
This July he will become international president of the Rotary Club, the world's biggest membership organisation.
Rotary has been a major driving force in the fight against polio across the globe. Over the last two decades, a vaccination programme funded by Rotary has reduced cases of the disease by 99 per cent.
The crippling illness is predicted to be totally eradicated within the next few years.
"Rotary International made it a number one priority to eradicate polio," said Mr Lee.
"We have achieved this more than 90 per cent. In the near future - two or three years - we can eradicate it. When we started there were 125 countries in which polio was endemic. Now we are left with just four countries - India, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan."
Mr Lee was in Birmingham yesterday ahead of a massive gathering of more than 20,000 Rotarians in Birmingham next summer - one of the biggest conventions it has ever held in its 103-year history.
The international ambitions of Rotary may come as a surprise to those who view the organisation as a gathering of local do-gooders who go carol singing at Christmas time.
The first club was set up in Chicago in 1905 by Paul Harris, an attorney who wanted to create a gentleman's service club for professionals to capture the "friendly spirit he had felt in the small towns of his youth".
The Rotary name derives from the early practice of rotating meetings among members' offices.
Today, it has a membership of 1.2 million in more than 32,000 Rotary clubs across 200 countries. There are 1,800 in the UK - 67 in the West Midlands, or 1060 district.
Typically, members are drawn from the professional classes. However the organisation insists it is open to anyone who shares its values and is nominated by an existing member.
On one level providing a social platform for like-minded people, Rotary members pride themselves on having a shared sense of wanting to put something good back into society, embodied by its motto "service above self".
International board member Gordon McInally, director for Britain and Ireland, said: "The motivation is to make opportunity world-wide.
"That sounds grand but for 20 years we have been working on an eradication programme for polio and during that time we have reduced it massively.
"To be involved in an organisation that has done that is great. But it is also an opportunity to make a difference locally.
"You have to be invited to join and you have to be a professional, business or community leader, or someone who has skills that can be used in the community."
* The Rotarian philosophy was refined in the 1932 "four-way test" code of ethics
* After the Second World War, Rotarians called for a conference which went on to inspire the founding of Unesco
* In 1989 Rotary voted to admit women, who now account for around 145,000 members
* The collapse of the Berlin Wall saw Rotary spread to central Europe where Russia is now the biggest of the organisation's 532 districts.