Rotary International

Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide,who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build good will and peace in the world.

There are approximately 1.2 million Rotarians, members of more than 29,000 Rotary clubs in 161 countries.

For more information on Rotary International please visit

Paul P. Harris


The Founder of Rotary, was born at Racine, Wisconsin, USA on April 19, 1868. Following his graduation from Law School of the University of Iowa in 1891, he decided to travel around the world for the next five years before settling down in Chicago to practice law in 1896.

For next several years, he reflected on conditions of life and business and by 1905 formulated a definite philosophy of business relations.

Talking it over with three of his clients, he conceived the idea of organising a club which came into being on 23rd February 1905. He remained active in Rotary until his death on January 27, 1947.

Brief History of Rotary
February 23, 1905
On this particular day, a Chicago lawyer, Paul P. Harris, called three friends to a meeting. What he had in mind was a club that would kindle fellowship among members of the business community. It was an idea that grew from his desire to find within the large city the kind of friendly spirit that he knew in the villages where he had grown up.

The four businessmen continued to meet, adding others to the group, they rotated their meetings among the members’ places of business, hence the name. Soon after the club name was agreed upon, and so was a wagon wheel design as the club emblem. It was the precursor of the familiar cogwheel emblem now worn by Rotarians around the world. By the end of 1905, the club had 30 members.

The second Rotary club was formed in 1908 half a continent away from Chicago in San Francisco, California. It was a much shorter leap across San Francisco Bay to Oakland, California, where the third club was formed. Others followed in Seattle, Washington, Los Angeles, California, and New York City, New York.

Rotary became international in 1910 when a club was formed in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. By 1921 the organization was represented on every continent, and the name Rotary International was adopted in 1922.

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