In the Rotary calendar, the month of February is a lot special because it’s referred to as the World Understanding Month. Moreover, February commemorates as well the anniversary of the Rotary’s first meeting that took place on 23rd of February, 1905, now designated as World Understanding and Peace Day.
It began with a man’s vision, Paul Harris as he aspires to bring together professionals coming from diverse backgrounds, those that have a similar friendly spirit he experienced in the tiny villages when he was young and be able to exchange ideas, create profound, lasting friendships, and ultimately give back to their societies. So on this day February 23, back in 1905, was when the very first Rotary meeting transpired.
The Chicago attorney formed the Rotary Club of Chicago, and with him are Silvester Schiele, Gustavus Loehr, and Hiram Shorey. They gathered at Loehr’s office in Unity Building’s Room 711 in Chicago’s city center. The group agreed to call the new club “Rotary” after the habit of rotating meeting locations, usually among its member’s offices.
The anniversary is known as “World Peace and Understanding Day.”
The commemoration serves as a time for every club to pause, plan and promote the Rotary’s continuous quest for goodwill, peace and understanding among people of the world.
Whatever Rotary may mean to us; to the world it will be known by the results it achieves.
– Paul Harris, Rotary founder
In 1922, the name Rotary International was adopted.
Rotary International is a global service association with an objective to gather professional as well as business leaders to be able to give humanitarian assistance, promote top ethic standards in all careers, and support in carrying out understanding and peace throughout the globe.
The members of Rotary Clubs are known as Rotarians. It is a secular group that welcomes every one no matter what color, race, gender, belief, political preference or religion. There are 34,282 clubs and more than a million members that form an organization of global scope. Members typically gather per week for morning or evening meal, serving as a social affair as well as a chance to plan and arrange work on their service strategy.
For over a hundred years, Rotary members have been addressing challenges around the world.
Commitment to Serve
Members of Rotary Clubs have not just been present in many of the world’s historical events— they have also been a part of them. There are 3 prime qualities that remain strong in the organization’s history:
Rotarians are Global. Just merely sixteen years following its foundation, Rotary had clubs on 6 continents. At present, members in almost every nation aim to resolve a few of the most challenging issues in the world.
Persistence. Rotarians persevere in hard times. Rotary clubs at the time of World War 2, that are based in Germany, Italy, Austria, Spain, and Japan, were pressed to disband. In spite of the risks, a lot of members continue to see each other informally, and when the war was over, members joined forces to restore their groups and their nations.
Commitment to Serve. Rotarians are passionate to serve, and are not scared to dream big and set big goals. The members started a battle in the Philippines against polio in 1979 with a strategy to immunize six million kids. At present, polio is endemic in just 3 nations — down from more than a hundred in 1988.
In Observance of World Peace and Understanding Day
A Rotary Club from India has introduced the Rotary World Peace Project last year in observance of the World Peace and Understanding Day.
It is a unique global project that aims to develop a person’s inner peace, which they believe is the foundation of world peace. What members and participants do is to sit in one place, alone or in group on February 23, 6PM Chicago time and perform a ten-minute silent peace practice and to take a pledge for peace. This activity seeks to bring a positive vibe as may people from different parts of the globe are in prayer mode.