Rotary International

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Rotary International is a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders that provides humanitarian service, encourages high ethical standards in all vocations, and helps build goodwill and peace in the world. Approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 31,000 Rotary clubs located in 167 countries.

Mission Statement
The mission of Rotary International is to support its member clubs in fulfilling the Object of Rotary by:Fostering unity among member clubs;Strengthening and expanding Rotary around the world; Communicating worldwide the work of Rotary; and Providing a system of international administration.

Rotary International History
The Rotary Club of Chicago, Illinois, USA, the world's first service club was formed on 23rd of February 1905 by Paul P. Harris, an attorney who wished to recapture in a professional club the same friendly spirit he had felt in the small towns of his youth. The name "Rotary" derived from the early practice of rotating meetings among members' offices. Rotary's popularity spread throughout the United States in the decade that followed; clubs were chartered from San Francisco to New York. By 1921, Rotary clubs had been formed on six continents, and the organization adopted the name Rotary International a year later. As Rotary grew, its mission expanded beyond serving the professional and social interests of club members. Rotarians began pooling their resources and contributing their talents to help serve communities in need. The organization's dedication to this ideal is best expressed in its principal motto: Service Above Self. Rotary also later embraced a code of ethics, called The 4-Way Test, that has been translated into hundreds of languages.During and after World War II, Rotarians became increasingly involved in promoting international understanding.

The Rotary International Foundation (Separate from the Foundation of RCNY)
An endowment fund, set up by Rotarians in 1917 "for doing good in the world," became a not-for-profit corporation known as The Rotary Foundation in 1928. Upon the death of Paul Harris in 1947, an outpouring of Rotarian donations made in his honor, totaling US$2 million, launched the Foundation's first program - graduate fellowships, now called Ambassadorial Scholarships . Today, contributions to The Rotary Foundation total more than US$80 million annually and support a wide range of humanitarian grants and educational programs that enable Rotarians to bring hope and promote international understanding throughout the world. In 1985, Rotary made a historic commitment to immunize all of the world's children against polio. Working in partnership with nongovernmental organizations and national governments thorough its PolioPlus program, Rotary is the largest private-sector contributor to the global polio eradication campaign. Rotarians have mobilized hundreds of thousands of PolioPlus volunteers and have immunized more than one billion children worldwide. By the 2005 target date for certification of a polio-free world, Rotary will have contributed half a billion dollars to the cause.As it approached the dawn of the 21st century, Rotary worked to meet the changing needs of society, expanding its service effort to address such pressing issues as environmental degradation, illiteracy, world hunger, and children at risk.

Membership
The organization admitted women for the first time (worldwide) in 1989 and claims more than 145,000 women in its ranks today. Following the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Rotary clubs were formed or re-established throughout Central and Eastern Europe. Today, 1.3 million Rotarians belong to some 33,000 Rotary clubs in 172 countries.

Rotary International Administration
Rotary is organized at club, district, and international levels to carry out its program of service. Rotarians are members of their clubs, and the clubs are members of the global association known as Rotary International. Each club elects its own officers and enjoys considerable autonomy within the framework of the standard constitution and the constitution and bylaws of Rotary International. Clubs are grouped into 529 Rotary districts, each led by a district governor who is an officer of Rotary International and represents the RI board of directors in the field. Though selected by the clubs of the district, a governor is elected by all of the clubs worldwide meeting in the RI Convention. A 19-member board of directors , which includes the international president and president-elect, administers Rotary International. These officers are also elected at the convention; the selection process for choosing directors and the nominating committee for president are based on zones, each of which comprises approximately 15 districts. The board meets quarterly to establish policies. While the Rotary International president is the highest officer of RI, the chief administrative officer of RI is the general secretary, who heads a staff of about 600 persons working at the international headquarters in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois, USA, or in one of seven international offices around the world.

Rotary International Milestones
   1905 First Rotary club organized in Chicago, Illinois
   1905 Second club formed in San Francisco
   1909 Rotary Club of New York organized in 
   1912 First Rotary convention held in Chicago
   1910 Rotary Club of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, becomes the first club outside the US to be officially chartered.
   1917 Endowment fund, forerunner of The Rotary Foundation, established
   1932 Four-Way Test formulated by Chicago Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor
   1945 Forty-nine Rotarians help draft United Nations Charter in San Francisco
   1947 Rotary founder Paul Harris dies
   1947 First 18 Rotary Foundation scholarships granted
   1962 First Interact club formed in Melbourne, Florida
   1965 Rotary Foundation launches Matching Grants and Group Study Exchange programs
   1978 RI's largest convention, with 39,834 registrants, held in Tokyo
   1985 Rotary announces PolioPlus program to immunize all the children of the world against polio
   1989 Council on Legislation opens Rotary membership to women worldwide
   1989 Rotary clubs chartered in Budapest, Hungary, and Warsaw, Poland, for first time in almost 50 years
   1990 Rotary Club of Moscow chartered first club in Soviet Union
   1990-91 Preserve Planet Earth program inspires some 2,000 Rotary-sponsored environmental projects
   1994Western Hemisphere declared polio-free
   1999 Rotary Centers for International Studies in Peace and Conflict Resolution established
   2000 Western Pacific declared polio-free 2002 Europe declared polio-free; first class of 70 Rotary Peace Scholars begin study
   2003 Rotarians raise more than US $118 million to support the final stages of polio eradication


 
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