The first four Rotarians
Rotary counts it’s history since February 23, 1905, when in Chicago, in the Unity Building on North Dearborn street 127, the first meeting of the future Rotary club was held, which was attended by a mining engineer Gustavus Loehr, coal dealer Silvester Schiele (he will become the first President of the club), tailor Hiram Shorey and lawyer Paul Harris.
Paul Harris subsequently became the ideological inspirer of the organization. Paul Harris idea was to develop the spirit of friendship and solidarity in the business world of large cities. Soon the group was joined by new members of the Rotary club, and they alternately gathered at the place of work of another Rotarian, and where did the idea of rotation and wheel as an emblem came from(original emblem was a cartwheel). Beyond friendship and business communication emerges the idea of public service and the implementation of humanitarian actions. The first projects implemented by rotary were buying the horse for the local priest, and installation of a public restroom near Chicago city hall.
Soon there were established Clubs in other U.S. cities. In 1910, during the first Convention with the participation of 16 Rotary clubs, Paul Harris was elected President. In 1911-1912 the first Rotary Clubs were founded outside the U.S. – in Dublin, Winnipeg and London. In 1912 the iInternational Association of Rotary Clubs was founded, which in 1922 received the modern name - Rotary International.
Since that time, the Rotary movement has evolved and strengthened throughout the world, acquired organizational definition and earned the respect of their humanitarian actions. In the late 1980s they began accept women in Rotary, and today women constitute about 15% of the Rotary members. In 1989, Rotary received its current slogan "Service above self". This slogan became the spiritual basis of life for Rotarians around the world.
Many prominent figures in world politics, science and culture were the members Rotary in different years. Among them U.S. President John F. Kennedy, Prime Minister of Great Britain Winston Churchill, the German writer Thomas Mann, the oceanographer and explorer Thor Heyerdahl, the Nobel peace prize laureate philosopher Albert Schweitzer, the king of Sweden Carl XVI Gustav, composers Franz Lehar and Jean Sibelius, singer Luciano Pavarotti, boxer Manuel Pacquiao and many other famous personalities.
Today Rotary is a global network of public volunteers that consists of more than 1.2 million leaders in business and public life. More than 35, 000 rotary Clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical regions realize service projects in their local communities and beyond, to overcome such negative phenomena as poverty, disease, hunger, illiteracy and pollution, to support the new generation.