“We humans are creatures of habit, and it is just as easy to acquire the habit of speaking kindly as it is to acquire the habit of speaking unkindly”
— Paul Harris, 1935
When he spoke at the 1935 Rotary Convention in Mexico City, Paul Harris had only recently returned from a journey though Asia and the Pacific. He reflected on the opportunities for friendship he encountered on his trip and reminded members of their duty to act as ambassadors of goodwill. Read the full speech.
Editor’s note: 19 April marks the anniversary of Paul Harris’ birth. Learn more about Rotary’s founder.
Evan Burrell, left, with other members of the Joint Committee on Alumni Relations during a visit to Room 711, a recreation of the room where Rotary began.
By Evan Burrell, a member of the Rotary Club of Turramurra, New South Wales, Australia
I wonder, as we approach yet another Rotary anniversary, what Paul Harris would think of the Rotary of today? Would he smile, or grimace? He probably didn’t imagine how far his little idea would go when he sat down for that first meeting on 23 February a full 111 years ago.
As a fun exercise, I tried to imagine what it might be like if Paul Harris started Rotary today. To do this, I first imagined what a Gen Y Paul might be like. Continue reading
Paul Harris, soon after he started practicing law in Chicago in 1896.
By Rotary Heritage Communications staff
In My Road to Rotary, Paul Harris recalled how his longing for friendship like that he had known in Vermont was one of his inspirations for founding Rotary in 1905. But in 1935, in This Rotarian Age, he wrote of the need for Rotary, from a wider perspective:
“It is conceivable that Rotary might have been born under sunnier skies, in a climate more equable, and in a city of mental composure; but many will contend that there could have been no more favorable birthplace for Rotary than paradoxical Chicago, where the battle for civic righteousness was being so fiercely waged.” Continue reading
Interactors during a photo break at the Rotary Convention in Sydney, Australia.
By Marilyn Axler, a member of the E-Club of South Jersey, and Rotary Global History Fellowship board member
I have been using social media to promote Rotary for three years now, posting on LinkedIn and other platforms to connect with others and share Rotary’s message. From time to time, I hear from members who are uncomfortable with social media. They say they feel it is invasive and they bring up concerns for privacy and safety.
Could it be that they are also afraid to embrace change? I agree the telephone is still the best way to communicate sometimes. But social media is clearly where it is at for younger people. Can we really afford to ignore the “new age of communications?” Continue reading
By Dick Galitz, president of the 711 Club, at the rededication of Room 711 on the first floor of RI World Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA
It’s very special to be standing in front of the rededicated Room 711 on this occasion. It is a special room. When you go into the room, you can just feel, I can feel, the atmosphere and sense of four guys getting together and saying “let’s build a fellowship.” Continue reading
By Mark Glickman, rabbi of two synagogues in the Seattle area and a religion columnist for the Seattle Times. His book Burnt Pearls: The Rise, Fall and Redemption of the Nazi Jewish Library, will be published by the Jewish Publication Society next year.
My wife is a past-president of the Rotary Club of Duvall, Washington, USA, and I’ve had the opportunity to participate as her sidekick ever since she joined. During those years, I’ve come to know Rotary as a group of wonderful people doing important work and showing deep commitment to bettering their communities and the world.
That’s why I was surprised to see Rotary listed as a subversive organization and an enemy of human progress. Continue reading