History of Rotary International

History of Rotary International

The first Rotary Club was organized in Chicago, Illinois on February 23, 1905, by Paul P. Harris, a young lawyer, who gathered together in a spirit of friendship and understanding a group of men, each of whom was engaged in a different form of service to the public. That basis of membership–one person from each business and profession in the community–still exists in Rotary. At first, the members of the new club met in rotation at their various places of business, and this became the basis for the name “Rotary.”

“God grant that my vision of the faults of men and of nations be dimmed and my vision of their virtues be brightened.” –Paul P Harris

A Small Group With Big Ideals

Since 1905, the ideas of Paul Harris and his friends have become ideals which have become accepted by men and women of practically all nationalities. and of many political and religious beliefs. Today, there are Rotary Clubs in 161 countries and geographical regions. The universal acceptance of principles has been so great that there are now more than 35,000 Rotary clubs which have a combined membership of more than 1,2 million.

Ideal Of Service

The general objectives of Rotary clubs in every country are the same — the development of fellowship and understanding among the business and professional people in the community, the promotion of community betterment endeavors and of high standards in business and professional practices, and the advancement of international understanding, good will, and peace. Rotary clubs everywhere have one basic ideal — the “ideal of service,” which is thoughtfulness of and helpfulness to others.

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