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Rotary

Our history.

For more than 110 years, Rotary members have been addressing challenges around the world.

Grassroots at the core, Rotary links 1.2 million members to form an organization of international scope. It started with the vision of one man — Paul Harris. The Chicago attorney formed the Rotary Club of Chicago on 23 February 1905, so professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas, form meaningful, lifelong friendships, and give back to their communities.

Rotary’s name came from the group’s early practice of rotating meetings among the offices of its members.

Rotary Guiding principles

"Whatever Rotary may mean to us, to the world it will be known by the results it achieves." - Paul Harris


Object of Rotary

  • The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service
  • High ethical standards in business and professions; the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations; and the dignifying of each Rotarian's occupation as an opportunity to serve society
  • The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian's personal, business and community life.
  • The advancement of international understanding, goodwill and peace thorough a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.

The Four-Way Test

The Four-Way test is a nonpartisan and nonsectarian ethical guide for Rotarians to use for their personal and professional relationships.

Of all the things we think, say or do

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

The Presidential Theme
for the Rotary Year 2020-2021

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In many ways, Rotary is in wonderful shape. The Rotary Foundation is recognized as one of the world’s best charities.

We are also evolving in interesting ways. And Rotary has to change, even if some fellow Rotarians will complain that it does not look like their old Rotary, we have to change. As Paul Harris said, we have to be revolutionary from time to time.

Rotary provides opportunities for service projects that can be performed and completed by us. In Rotary, we don’t just donate the money, we also perform the service and see the lasting impact of that service firsthand. This is unique.

Rotary is not just a club that you join. It opens opportunities to serve in a project as big and historic as End Polio Now and also in a small community project, where you just plant a tree.
And it opens opportunities for you to live a richer, more meaningful life, with friends around the world, based on our core values. Everything we do opens another opportunity for someone, somewhere.
Therefore, the theme for our year is: Rotary Opens Opportunities.

Holger Knaack
President, Rotary International, 2020-21