Rotary is the oldest worldwide organization of representatives of business and the intelligentsia that provide high ethical standards in their professional activity, assist those who are in need of it, and also advance international understanding. The object of the activity of Rotary is service to another, the principal motto of the organization is УService Above SelfФ. This objective is achieved through community service at the place of work or residence; development of professional knowledge; international educational exchanges for children and adults; humanitarian service; assistance to the families in need, sick people, invalids, schools and hospitals; establishment of international contacts and other activities of similar kind. Every Rotary Club is an independent public organization registered according to the current legislation of the country of its location, which operates according to the Charter and Rules of the Club. Only a person with flawless business and personal reputation who has achieved the top of the professional skills and occupies a leading position in the profession can become a member of Rotary Club.
What do Rotarians want?
- To develop relationships and to use them for rendering assistance to each other.
- To encourage high ethics in a vocation, business relations.
- To recognize advantages of any useful affair and to consider it as means of service to people.
- To introduce the ideals of service into private life, professional and social sphere.
- To spread the ideas of goodwill, understanding and peaceful co-existence within the framework of the international movement.
- To implement the ancient motto Уa/the person is the measure of all thingsФ.
The Code of Ethics
The Code of Ethics of Rotarians consists of only 24 English words. Therefore in the emblem of Rotary, which is a cogwheel, there are 24 teeth. This concerns the so-called УFour-Way TestФ, which was created by Rotarian Herbert Taylor in 1932 for a company that was facing bankruptcy. In 1943 it was adopted by Rotary as obligatory for all Rotarians. Before starting any business, a member of the Club sets four essential questions to himself: УIs it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and friendship? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?Ф Answering ourselves, we understand what is necessary to do in order to build on to the things that already exist in life something that ought to be there. That is the high ethical standard which is based on such vital values as persistence, pleasure of work, thriftiness, patience, discipline. And certainly, honesty.
Today over 1206670 Rotarians in 32317 Clubs, which operate in 168 countries of the world, have devoted themselves to the idea of service. All Rotary Clubs are incorporated into the international association Rotary International. A club under the name Rotary should be registered in Rotary International and receive Charter (a certificate). Rotary District is an association of Rotary Clubs by the territorial principle. It is necessary to point out that all posts in Rotary - from the President of a Club up to the President of Rotary International - are elective and the term of appointment is limited by one year. The essential part of Rotary International, the Rotary Foundation carries out financing of humanitarian grants and educational programs throughout the world. For the period since 1947 up to now Rotary has allocated more than 1.1 billion dollars for such programs. Of the most known and significant international programs of Rotary it is necessary to mention the 20-year program of vaccination against poliomyelitis which in 2005 came to the end with a victory over this terrible disease.
Every year over a thousand students receive an opportunity to study in the best educational institutions of the world at RotaryТs expense, and almost 3000 young people take part in short-term educational trips abroad. Within the worldwide peace movement annually seventy young people from different countries take a special two-year course on the worldwide peace and conflict solving issues, financed by Rotary, at ten most prestigious universities of the world. Rotary Clubs also carry out programs fighting illiteracy, drinking water shortage, as well as programs to provide children-invalids with wheelchairs and so on in many countries of the world.
The first Rotary club was organized in the USA. On February 23 1905 a resident of Chicago, 37-year-old Floor Harris, met his friends - businessmen to discuss one idea. Four respectable professionals: mountain engineer Gustav Loer, coal dealer Selivester Shill, tailor Hiram Shorry and lawyer Harris, agreed that the competition in businesses of big cities did not exclude the spirit of friendship and solidarity. So it made sense to have companionable meetings on a regular basis for expansion of contacts and spheres of business. In such way a prestigious business club was founded to have become a sample for all future so-called "service" Clubs. It received its name from the Latin word "rotary" (rotation). The meetings were held in turns at the offices of each member of the club, i.e. as though Уthe place of a meetingФ was rotating. Therefore the driving wheel, as a symbol of advance to civilization, was chosen as its emblem.
This day went down to history Ц УRotary wheelФ started its victorious movement at first through the cities of America, and then worldwide. Within a short time the idea of Rotary had spread all over the United States, later - the American continent, and in ten years the first Clubs were created in Europe. By the beginning of the Second World War the world organization Rotary International had established Clubs in all developed countries of the world, except for the countries with a totalitarian regime - the Soviet Union, Germany, Italy, Spain, Hungary and Romania where the Clubs were closed down after the dictatorial regimes had come to power.
It is necessary to note that on the territory of Ukraine Rotary movement existed even prior to the beginning of the Second World War. The first Rotary Clubs were founded in Chernovtsy (1928), Uzhgorod (1929) and Lvov (1936). With the arrival of the Red Army in 1939-1940 their activity was stopped. The policy of the CPSU concerning public organizations did not promote existence of the Rotary Clubs either.
The newest stage in the history of Rotary in Ukraine began in 1992 when the first Rotary Club in the post-war Ukraine was formed in Kiev. In the same 1992 the Rotary Club was re-established in Lvov, in 1993 Ц in Uzhgorod. Today in Ukraine there are 43 Rotary Clubs almost in all area centres and in a lot of the regional centres of the country, including 3 Clubs in Kiev, 4 Clubs in Lvov, in Dnepropetrovsk, Cherkassy, Uzhgorod and Rovno, 2 Clubs in each of the places. Besides in 11 cities the youth program Rotaract has received its development, the Interact Clubs which unite youth of school age operate in Lvov and Cherkassy. Geographically Rotary Clubs of Ukraine are part of the Central European district of Rotary International 2230 together with the Rotarians of Poland (74 Clubs) and Belarus (5 Clubs). This District is the largest in the world (over 1.200.000 m2) with the population of almost 100.000.000 inhabitants.
Among Ukrainian Rotarians there are members of the government, politicians, prominent scientists, artists, businessmen, heads of establishments and enterprises. Rotary Clubs of Ukraine take an active part in the program against poliomyelitis, tuberculosis, in organization of international educational youth exchanges, they are known due to their support of children's establishments, active participation in overcoming consequences of acts of nature and extreme situations, such as the flooding in Zakarpatie and the tragedy at the Sknilovsky aerodrome. But the activity of Rotary Clubs is first place directed to solving humanitarian problems. For instance, only from July 1 2001 to June 30 2002 thanks to Rotary, Ukraine had received the aid totalling over 3280000 US dollars.
Certainly, it is not acceptable to measure kind deeds with money. However, it should be mentioned that the cooperation of Rotary Clubs of different countries and the special Rotary Foundation, formed for support and coordination of the international humanitarian programs, allows to put into effect such projects which today our state is simply not capable to finance. So, already the first humanitarian cargo of the vaccine against poliomyelitis cost over 2 million American dollars. As to the programs of the last period for example, the cost of the mobile laboratory for diagnostics of heart diseases with children adds up to 240.000 US dollars, the project of support for children-orphans cost over 170.000 hrivnas.
In any country where they are Rotary Clubs, they can be called elite (but not exclusive!), they are clubs for people who occupy rather high positions in the society. Members of Rotary Clubs come to the sessions in obligatory ties, and charity has always been the main direction of their activity. One can be only invited to Rotary Ц you can not just come and enter your name in such a club, it is impossible. New members join the club as follows: a full member of Rotary Club finds a candidate and suggests him to be considered for membership. A group of members of the Club checks who this person is, whether there are any Уdark spotsФ in his biography. Then the newcomer is invited to a session of the Club for closer acquaintance. If the candidate passes the interview well, he is offered to become a member of the Club. In case of his consent members of the Club have still another week to declare their "rejection" of the candidate for Rotary Club membership. If there are no rejections, the person is deemed accepted. The reason of such a complex procedure is simple and clear - in fact only one dishonest, unscrupulous or simply unfair person can discredit the whole movement. Therefore in Rotary there are simply no people of such kind. Among the best known Rotarians in the world were or are Winston Churchill, John Kennedy, Ira Edison, Margaret Thatcher, Bill Clinton, Gunter Grass, Thomas Mann, Mstislav Rastropovich, Michael Gorbachev and many others.
For some reason, Rotarians are often related to masons. Most often such information can be found in the works of journalists covering the activity of masons. However, such point of view has nothing to do with the reality. You can judge by yourself: every year the Pope receives the newly elected President of Rotary International. And itТs a known fact that the Catholic Church does not recognize masons. Besides unlike Masonic lodges, the activity of Rotary Clubs is absolutely transparent and open for representatives of the public. In any country of the world Rotarians pay completely identical membership dues to Rotary International - 45 dollars per year. It is clear that this money will simply not suffice to fulfill all the programs of Rotary. Many of such programs have been completed thanks to and at the expense of individual donations. For instance, several years ago Bill Gates, whose father is/was a Rotarian, donated 34 million dollars to Rotary. The known tennis player Martina Higgins has offered 8 million dollars. Why Rotary? It is the organization which can be trusted. Moreover, Rotary International annually prints the report on all the financial receipts and the projects on the realization of which this money has been spent. And yet one more important fact: while with masons, to put it mildly, it is not common to announce their belonging to the organization, Rotarians openly speak about the membership in Rotary Clubs. In addition, there are Rotary directories where all the members of the organization are listed. This information is absolutely open and available to everyone. The only thing that is common for both masons and Rotarians Ц neither Rotary, nor Masonic lodges are religious organizations. Besides, masons, as well as Rotarians, render some feasible service to the communities in need.