The world's first service club was the Rotary
Club of Chicago, Illinois, USA The club was formed 23 February 1905 by
lawyer Paul P. Harris and three friends -a merchant, a coal dealer, and a
mining engineer. Harris wished to recapture the friendly spirit he had felt
among businesspeople in the small town where he had grown up. The name
"Rotary" was derived from the early practice of rotating meetings among
The main objective of Rotary is service -in the community, in the
workplace, and throughout the world. Rotarians build goodwill and peace,
provide humanitarian service, and encourage high ethical standards in all
vocations. The Rotary motto is "Service Above Self."
Rotarians are professional men and women who work as volunteers to improve
the quality oflife in their home and world community .Club membership
represents a cross-section of local business and professional leaders. The
world's Rotary clubs meet weekly and are non-political, non-religious and
open to all cultures, races, and creeds.
There are approximately 1.2 million
Rotarians working in some 29,600 Rotary clubs in 163 countries and
35 geographical regions worldwide.
First admitted in 1987, women are the
fastest-growing segment of Rotary's membership. There are nearly
2,000 women club presidents and women are rapidly assuming regional
initiate community projects that address many of today's
most critical issues, such as violence, drug abuse, youth,
AIDS, hunger, the environment, and illiteracy. Rotary clubs
are autonomous and determine service projects based on local
with and for youth to address challenges facing young people
today. Through participation in Rotary-sponsored Interact
clubs (for secondary school students), Rotaract clubs ( for
young adults), and Rotary Youth Leadership awards, young
people worldwide learn leadership skills and the importance
of community service.
Exchange gives high school students the opportunity to
broaden their world view and build international
a history of building safe communities and working for
peace. In the world's cities, where urban violence has
become rampant, Rotary has the community-based network to
help prevent unrest. Rotary-sponsored violence prevention
projects and conferences address the root causes of violence
such as drug abuse, poverty, lack ofrole models, and gangs.
Foundation of Rotary International provides an opportunity
for Rotarians to work for international understanding and
peace. Through their Foundation, Rotarians sponsor
international educational and humanitarian programs.
Rotary's commitment to eradicating polio by the year 2005.
Through the efforts of Rotary and its partners in the fight
against polio, more than two billion children worldwide have
been immunized since 1985. In 19%, 154 nations reported no
cases of polio, up from 85 when PolioPlus began. By the year
2005 Rotarian contributions will reach a half billion US
dollars to eradicate the crippling disease. Of equal
significance is the huge volunteer army mobilized by Rotary
International for social mobilization, vaccine transport and
international network helps link people in need with
Rotarians in other countries that can provide resources. The
Foundation's humanitarian programs provide health care and
supplies, clean water, food. job training, and education
.-particularly in the developing world.
Foundation's educational programs include Ambassadorial
Scholarships, the world's largest privately. funded source
antinational scholarships. Nearly 1,300 scholarships are
awarded annually for study in another land. Grants are also
awarded for university teachers to serve in developing
countries and for exchanges of professionals.