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“If we had nothing but the great political associations … we would have hardly any hope of coming through the great adventure in which we find ourselves – and I have lived through this great concern for the future of humanity with my friend, Einstein … and know that he, too, was waiting for a great movement. And now this movement has come in your association, Rotary, and in others, and we shall fight on while remaining profoundly human.”
Albert Schweitzer, Rotarian and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Colmar, France 1960
|Although Rotary’s early focus was on fellowship and business networking, members soon incorporated the elements of service. In 1906, Donald M. Carter proposed an amendment to the club bylaws: “An organisation that is wholly selfish cannot last long. If we, as a Rotary Club, expect to survive and grow, we must do some things to justify our existence. We must perform a civic service.”
|Observance of the first Rotary months began in July 1983 when special weeks were designated as special months. The Rotary calendar today is as follows: July, Literacy Month; August, Membership and Extension Month; September, New Generations Month; October, Vocational Service Month; November, The Rotary Foundation Month; December, Family Month; January, Rotary Awareness Month; February, World Understanding Month (and Rotary’s anniversary, 23 February); April, Magazine Month; and June, Rotary Fellowships Month. Rotary weeks include World Interact Week in November and World Rotaract Week in March.
|Paul Harris is buried in Mt Hope Cemetery on the South Side of Chicago in the Morgan Park community. His headstone is beside that of Silvester Schiele, his close friend, and one of the first four Rotarians and the first president of the Rotary Club of Chicago. Twenty-seven months after Paul’s burial, in April 1949, his casket was dug up and moved from one side of his tombstone to the other. The reason is not known.
|The “trophy” office of Paul Harris is located on the 16th floor of RI Headquarters. Furnishings, photos, and memorabilia are arranged almost exactly as they were in the founder’s original office. His desk, with inlaid wood of different kinds, was a gift from Australian Rotarians. You can also see a chessboard made of butterfly wings, a Rotary flag flown by Admiral Byrd over the South Pole, medals of honour from various nations, and Paul’s favourite quotation: “He who has a thousand friends has not a friend to spare.”
|Even though Paul Harris wrote in 1911 that “Rotary is entirely without precedent in the history of clubdom,” he later learned that his idea was not entirely original. A social club based on a similar vocational classification system had been organised in London, England, 200 years before Rotary’s founding in 1905. It was also similar to the classification-based Junto, established in 18th century Philadelphia by U.S. scientist-philosopher Benjamin Franklin.
|In 1976, the RI Board of Directors was interested in creating a concise definition of the fundamental aspects of Rotary. They turned to Rotary’s Public Relations Committee, which prepared a one-sentence summary that is still used today: “Rotary is an organisation of business and professional persons united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.”
|“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 begins that the Rotarians have made this year, Take Time to Serve”
Mother Teresa of Calcutta, India
|Submitted by PP Darrel Caulley, Rotary Club of Greensborough|
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|Last modified: 26 May 2012 22:29|
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