Challenging the status quo in Rotary

Mohan Kumar
Mohan Kumar

By K V Mohan Kumar, charter president, Rotary Club of Bangalore Prime, India

Rotary is constantly in the process of change. Change is essential to stay relevant, as Rotary’s founder Paul Harris noted with his famous quote:

“This is a changing world, we must be prepared to change with it. The story of Rotary will have to be written again and again.”

Paul Harris, This Rotarian Age, Circa 1935

Many things drive that change in Rotary:

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Young people can make their mark through Rotary

By John Hewko, Rotary International General Secretary

The desire to give back, become involved in your community, create connections, and use one’s skills to benefit others is a cornerstone of civil society. But how can young people find these opportunities while facing the challenges of a widening skills gap, lost personal connections through digital isolation, and an uncertain future?

Let me begin with a description of a young person who may sound familiar. Continue reading

Paul Harris on kindness

“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.

Paul Harris on peace


“But, we ask, must the best genius of men be devoted to the science of war and none to the science of averting it?”

— Paul Harris, 1940

The second world war weighed on the mind of Rotary’s founder as he wrote a message to members in The Rotarian in February 1940, on the occasion of Rotary’s 35th anniversary. Read the full article

Recruiting for the Paul Harris Society

Yale Jones

Yale Jones

By Yale Jones, Rotary Club of Taos-Milagro, New Mexico, USA 

This year, I undertook the responsibility of Paul Harris Society coordinator for District 5520 in the charter year of this new giving program. As a leader for any new initiative like this, you never know what the response will be, but I saw it as an opportunity to share my passion for the work I am able to do through The Rotary Foundation with other Rotarians.  Continue reading

The room where Rotary began

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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

It’s a Wonderful Life through Rotary

131230_pollardBy Bill Pollard, past governor of District 7600 (Virginia, USA), and member of the Rotary Club of Churchland, Virginia

One of my favorite things about the holiday season is watching It’s a Wonderful Life. The movie shares with us two important messages: the importance of friends and the positive impact each of us makes on the lives of others.

At the end of the movie George Bailey finds a copy of the book Tom Sawyer, a gift from his guardian angel Clarence who wrote in the book, “Remember,George: no man is a failure who has friends.” Our membership in Rotary provides us with the opportunity to make special and lasting friendships with Rotarians in our clubs, districts, and throughout the world. Continue reading

Paul Harris on Rotary in a changing world


“It is well that there is nothing in Rotary so sacred that it cannot be set aside in favor of things better.”

Paul Harris plants a tree in Santiago, Chile.  On this trip, Harris also planted trees in Callao and Lima, Peru; Bogotá, Colombia; Valparaiso, Chile; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil

Paul Harris plants a tree in Santiago, Chile.
On this trip, Harris also planted trees in Callao and Lima, Peru; Bogotá, Colombia; Valparaiso, Chile; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil

In 1936, Paul Harris and his wife, Jean, traveled throughout Central and South America. Upon their return to Chicago, Paul shared his experiences in Peregrinations III.

Reflecting on a tree planting in Chile — one of many during the trip, he noted that he thought of tree plantings as a symbol of good will, and hoped that the trees he had planted at home and abroad would stand for generations. Continue reading

Paul Harris on the role of friendship in Rotary


“If you have the love of your fellow men in your hearts, my friends, you are a potential Rotarian.”

Paul Harris

Paul Harris

On 27 June, Rotary founder Paul Harris gave a live radio broadcast from the 1933 convention in Boston. Near the end of his talk, Harris noted that Rotary is a way of life and the world is full of potential Rotarians.

Celebrate Harris’s birthday on 19 April by listening to his message. How will you share his vision with prospective members you know? Leave a comment below.