Rotary International

Rotary International is a worldwide service organisation which undertakes many outstanding services and is a superb enterprise. In June 2011, this remarkable community of humanitarian men and women comprised 1,223,413 Members, in 34,301 Clubs, in 530 Districts across 207 countries and geographical regions.

In Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands there are 46,583 members in 1,491 clubs. Such is the level of worldwide respect for Rotary International that it enjoys formal representation within the United Nations. It may be the only organisation of its kind which is afforded the honour of such high office.

PolioPlus is just one stunning example of the incalculable contribution made to humankind.  The concept of ridding the world of poliomyelitis was developed by Rotary internationally in 1980 and has now been described as the greatest humanitarian project the world has seen.

Is it any wonder that Rotarians are so proud of the crucial role they play in modern society? In 2005 Rotary International celebrated its centenary, having been founded in Chicago USA in February 1905 by the world renowned Paul Harris, a young lawyer and resident of that famous American city.

It has recently been pointed out by an independent observer, that not many humanitarian or social service organisations survive for a hundred or more years. It is testimony to the great value of Rotary International that such a milestone has been reached and with such astonishing success.

In 1981, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, India, attended an RI Convention in Sao Paulo, Brazil and made this statement –

"If we really want to love, if we really want to live, we must love until it hurts .... No Rotarian whose motto is Service Above Self, I think, should call himself a Rotarian if he does not make time to serve .... If we love, we begin to serve. And this is where that beautiful motto that the Rotarians have made this year begins , Take Time to Serve."

("A Century of Service -The Story of Rotary International" by David C. Forward
Rotary International 2003, at Page 69)