Background checks for friendship exchange

By Rotary staff

A friendship exchange.

Your club members have generously volunteered to host Rotarians from a district in another country as part of their Rotary Friendship Exchange program. Your club’s Rotary Friendship Exchange committee wishes to require all host families and visiting families to complete a background check as a precautionary measure of security. Other club members protest that only individuals of good standing become club members, so a background check is costly and unnecessary. What would you do?

Every month, Rotary magazine showcases answers to an ethical question that members might face in their Rotary clubs. Share your suggestions below to be included in a future issue.

14 thoughts on “Background checks for friendship exchange

  1. As background checks are a condition of eligibility for the program, I would exempt those who are unwilling to complete the program criteria.
    There are other Rotary programs with program criteria that is a pre-curser to participating in the program & I see no difference with this program.


  2. Prima Facie, it is a dumb concern. Priests can be pedophile, does not mean we can assume they are. The English speaking countries and the nations who have adopted that judicial system presume innocence until proven guilty. Extending good will and trust is the basis of growth and development. It is as basic as dating. Dating cannot happen unless someone takes an initiative. How do you think that would go, if you conducted a background check..

    Moreover, if a club selects the exchange person from the members of the club than this person has quite significant credentials in the club and community. The club receiving also is aware that their own members also have considerable locus standi in their own community. Thus, this confidence should be extended.

    The success of Rotary is because of the credibility we have in the community. For example, the WHO global compact to immunize children dates to 1970 with 35% penetration until Rotary joins in 1985. In the initial trials in the Philippines and Peru moved through a cycle of 65%, 98% and 100% penetration from 1985 to 1989. Polio is a success because of our credibility in the community.

    Thus, I believe the person who developed this issue for discussion is illiterate about Rotary. I am being harsh in my language and intent. This kind of immaturity is not expected in The Rotarian.


      • Right. And this is a condition of the YE Program.
        Police checks are a condition of the Friendship Exchange program. Why should this condition be removed? No police check – no entry to the program.


  3. Reblogged this on Humanitarian around the world and commented:
    I would clearly state all the reasons that requiring members to submit to background checks is wrong. I would strongly encourage all members to refuse to submit to a background check. They are not required by the US Department of State so they should not be required by a Rotary Club.


  4. There are issues here of laws in various countries, partners not signed up to the four-way test and the reputation of Rotary itself. I know I am squeaky clean in terms of any background checks that may be done. What I am not – is pious about being checked nor offended either. Why can we not see that this is a necessary task that must be done, in this day and age to maintain Rotary’s cherished reputation!


  5. the Law in the UK and EU requires us to Safeguard young people etc so hosting members must be check ed under that Law. As we have seen recently in the UK, even our policemen have a dark side.

    Anyone that thinks that Rotarians dont have a dark side need to wake up !!!!!!

    Dont let Rotary have to defend its self in a court of Law because someone has been assaulted in a hosts home …….


  6. Background checks are required for anyone who deals with youth, so why not on a Friendship exchange. Remember the Boy Scouts and how we are not dealing with cases that revealed abuse. I don’t care if you are a Rotarian. Get a background check and show you have nothing to hide.


  7. If we cannot trust our fellow Rotarians to be followers of the 4 Way Test who can we trust?
    I would be insulted if I were asked to undergo a background check by fellow Rotarians.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I would clearly state all the reasons that requiring members to submit to background checks is wrong. I would strongly encourage all members to refuse to submit to a background check. They are not required buy the US Department of State so the should not be required by a Rotary Club.

    Liked by 1 person

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