Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Rotary International

I was surprised, when searching the internet for more information about peace through understanding, to find that the Rotary Club came up. You see their insignia when you enter different towns and cities, alongside those of the Knights of Columbus, the Elks Club, and other civic organizations. However, if you look through their site, you will find that there is a repeated declaration of dedication to the ideal of peace through understanding. (They've also worked hard for the eradication of polio.) Here is what I gathered from their site that I thought was interesting, including all the references I could find to peace and understanding.


The Rotary Club was founded in 1905 by Paul Harris, a lawyer in Chicago, to promote bonhomie among professionals.

The early "Rotarians" realized that fellowship and mutual self-interest were not enough to keep a club of busy professionals meeting each week. Reaching out to improve the lives of the less fortunate proved to be an even more powerful motivation. The Rotary commitment to service began in 1907, when the Rotary Club of Chicago donated a horse to a preacher. The man's own horse had died, and because he was too poor to buy another one, he was unable to make the rounds of his churches and parishioners. A few weeks later, the club constructed Chicago's first public lavatory. With these inaugural projects, Rotary became the world's first service-club organization. After a few years, the organization spread to other cities, and the motto, "Service above self," was adopted.

By 1925, Rotary had grown to 200 clubs with more than 20,000 members. The organization's distinguished reputation attracted presidents, prime ministers, and a host of other luminaries to its ranks — among them composer Jean Sibelius, humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, author Thomas Mann, and diplomat Carlos P. Romulo.

From the earliest days of the organization, Rotarians were concerned with promoting high ethical standards in their professional lives. One of the world's most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics is The 4-Way Test, which was created in 1932 by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor (who later served as RI president) when he was asked to take charge of a company that was facing bankruptcy. This 24-word code of ethics for employees to follow in their business and professional lives became the guide for sales, production, advertising, and all relations with dealers and customers, and the survival of the company is credited to this simple philosophy. Adopted by Rotary in 1943, The 4-Way Test has been translated into more than a hundred languages and published in thousands of ways. It asks the following four questions:

"Of the things we think, say or do:

  1. Is it the TRUTH?

  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?


  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?"

Back in 1917, Rotary President Arch C. Klumph had proposed that an endowment be set up "for doing good in the world." In 1928, this endowment became a not-for-profit corporation known as The Rotary Foundation.

During and after World War II, Rotarians became increasingly involved in promoting international understanding. In 1945, 49 Rotary members served in 29 delegations to the United Nations Charter Conference. Rotary still actively participates in UN conferences by sending observers to major meetings and promoting the United Nations in Rotary publications. Rotary International's relationship with the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) dates back to a 1943 London Rotary conference that promoted international cultural and educational exchanges. Attended by ministers of education and observers from around the world, and chaired by a past president of RI, the conference was an impetus to the establishment of UNESCO in 1946.

Since 1947, the Foundation has awarded more than US$1.1 billion in humanitarian and educational grants, which are initiated and administered by local Rotary clubs and districts. Started in 1965, Matching Grants for International Humanitarian Projects is a Rotary Foundation program that matches contributions raised by Rotary clubs and districts for international service projects involving clubs in two or more countries.

The Group Study Exchange program, also begun in 1965, has provided grants for more than 11,000 teams of men and women in the early stages of their business and professional careers to travel abroad and share vocational information with the representatives of their respective professions in another country. Team members spend four to six weeks studying the host country's institutions, economy, and culture while observing how their own professions are practiced abroad. More than 500 exchanges between paired Rotary districts occur each year, advancing the program's ultimate goal of promoting international understanding and goodwill.

The Foundation initiated Health, Hunger and Humanity (3-H) Grants in 1978. 3-H Grants are awarded to fund long-term, self-help grassroots development projects that are too large for one club or district to implement on its own. Projects must be self-sustaining after the 3-H grant funds have been expended.

Reflecting society in 1905, the organization had been limited to male members and remained so officially until 1989, when the Council on Legislation, Rotary's parliament, voted to eliminate the male-only provision, opening up membership to qualified women across the world (though the U.S. women Rotarians began to appear during the 1986-1987 Rotary year). Today, there are approximately 145,000 women Rotarians worldwide, many of them serving in leadership roles.

Object of Rotary

The Object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:

FIRST. The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service;

SECOND. High ethical standards in business and professions, the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations, and the dignifying of each Rotarian's occupation as an opportunity to serve society;

THIRD. The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian's personal, business, and community life;

FOURTH. The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.

Four Avenues of Service

Based on the Object of Rotary, the Four Avenues of Service are Rotary's philosophical cornerstone and the foundation on which club activity is based:

  • Club Service focuses on strengthening fellowship and ensuring the effective functioning of the club.
  • Vocational Service encourages Rotarians to serve others through their vocations and to practice high ethical standards.
  • Community Service covers the projects and activities the club undertakes to improve life in its community.
  • International Service encompasses actions taken to expand Rotary's humanitarian reach around the globe and to promote world understanding and peace.

About Rotary
The Rotary Foundation
RI Programs
Club-District Support
Member Access
About Rotary
The Rotary Foundation
RI Programs
Club-District Support
Member Access

Rotary Peace and Conflict Studies Program

Program Information
Program vision
General information
To apply
Eligibility and fellowships
Program schedule
Application process
Participants: Past and present
A lotus in the reflecting pool at Chulalongkorn University's beautiful campus. Photo by Jenn Weidman/The Rotary Foundation
1 July 2006 (for January 2007 session); 1 December 2006 (for July 2007 session).
Download Resources
Contact Us:
Email: mailto:bangkok.peacestudies@rotary.org?subject=Rotary
Rotary Peace and Conflict Studies Program
One Rotary Center
1560 Sherman Avenue
Evanston, IL 60201-3698
Phone: 847-866-3000
Fax: 847-866-0934

Meet the participants

Hasmukhkumar Patel


Patel sees the Rotary Peace and Conflict Studies Program as a way to find new ways to address conflict in society at a local level.

Program participants of the inaugural 2006-07 session come from all lines of work: nongovernmental organizations, military, academia, and more. Meet the current participants, including Patel.

The vision

The Rotary Peace and Conflict Studies Program was established to provide professionals from around the world the opportunity to be trained in conflict resolution and mediation strategies and to become better equipped to help prevent and resolve conflict, as well as foster policies and create settings that ensure peace, worldwide. Offered in English, the program is aimed at mid- to upper-level professionals in governments, nongovernmental organizations, and private corporations. Beginning July 2006, the intensive three-month course housed at the newly established Rotary Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand will accept up to 30 program participants per session for two sessions per year. Each session will include both academic learning and practical fieldwork components. The program aims to:

  • Inspire people to work for a culture of peace and tolerance while enhancing their capacity, knowledge, and skill to do so, in part by generating interaction between practitioners and academics
  • Provide advanced international educational opportunities for Rotary Peace and Conflict Studies Program participants chosen from different countries and cultures on the basis of their potential as leaders in government, business, education, media, and other professions
  • Provide a means for The Rotary Foundation and Rotarians to increase their effectiveness in promoting greater tolerance and cooperation among peoples, leading to world understanding and peace.

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Privacy Copyright 2003 – 2005 Rotary International

Rotary Centers for International Studies
in peace and conflict resolution

Program Information
General Information
Information for Applicants
Information for Rotary World Peace Fellows
Papers and Published Articles
Information for Rotarians
Materials for Download
Rotary Centers in the News
Rotary World Peace Fellows
Class V, 2006-08
Class IV, 2005-07
Class III, 2004-06

Rotary World Peace Fellow alumni uses skills learned at Rotary Center

Strigel was among the inaugural class of Rotary World Peace Fellows, who began the two-year master's degree program in 2002 at one of seven Rotary Centers for International Studies in peace and conflict resolution hosted by eight leading universities around the world.

Information for Rotary World Peace Fellows

Pre-Departure Orientation

PowerPoint presentation (10 MB)
PDF file* (524 K)

Rotary World Peace Fellows' Applied Field Experience

During their summer break, Rotary World Peace Fellows undertake applied field experience as part of their two-year, master's-level degree program* in conflict resolution, peace studies and international relations. Fellows pursue internships, field research and other activities that aid in their professional development. Many Fellows use this opportunity to further their international understanding by exposing themselves to a different region of the world.

Europe and Central Asia

Central America and the Caribbean

Middle East and North Africa

North America

South Asia, East Asia, and the Pacific

Sub-Saharan Africa

South America

*Fellows at the University of Bradford undertake a 12-month master's degree program, immediately followed by a 12-month master's of philosophy degree program.


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