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About Rotary International

About Rotary International

Rotary provides an opportunity to build lifelong Friendships and experience the personal fulfillment of providing volunteer service to others. Rotarians leave the world a better place than how they found it.

Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.

Rotary’s Action Plan through 2024 is to:

  • increase our impact,
  • expand our reach,
  • enhance participant engagement, and
  • increase our ability to adapt.

Our history

The world's first service club, Rotary began with the formation of the Rotary Club of Chicago, Illinois, USA, on 23 February 1905. The club was started by a young lawyer, Paul P. Harris, and three of his friends. He wished to recapture the friendly spirit he had felt among business people in the small town where he had grown up. His vision was to bring together professionals of different backgrounds to exchange ideas and form meaningful friendships. Over the years, his vision has expanded to many cities around the globe and beyond just business people to include community leaders and neighbours. 

What we do

Rotary members believe that we have a shared responsibility to take action on our world’s most persistent issues. Each club individually and with other nearby clubs strives to improve their own communities, and provide better futures and leadership opportunities for their local youth. Also, our 35,000+ clubs world-wide work together to:

  • Promote peace
  • Fight disease
  • Provide clean water, sanitation, and hygiene
  • Save mothers and children
  • Support education
  • Grow local economies
  • Protect the environment

From the earliest days of the organization, Rotarians have always been concerned with promoting high ethical standards. One of the world's most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics is the 4-Way Test, which was created in 1932 by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor (who later served as RI president). This 24-word code of ethics was adopted by Rotary in 1943 and has been translated into more than a hundred languages and published in thousands of ways. It asks the following four questions:

Of the things we think, say or do:

  • Is it the TRUTH?
  • Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  • Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
  • Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?


RI President

Shekhar Mehta

President 2021-2022

Rotary Club of Calcutta-Mahanagar

West Bengal, India

Mehta, an accountant, is chair of the Skyline Group, a real estate development company he founded. He is also a director of Operation Eyesight Universal (India), a Canada-based organization. 

Mehta has been actively involved in disaster response and is a trustee of ShelterBox, UK. After the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, he helped build nearly 500 homes for families affected by the disaster. He pioneered a program that has performed more than 1,500 life-changing heart surgeries in South Asia. He is also the architect of the TEACH Program, which promotes literacy throughout India and has reached thousands of schools.

A Rotary member since 1984, Mehta has served Rotary as director, member or chair of several committees, zone coordinator, training leader, member of The Rotary Foundation Cadre of Technical Advisers, and district governor. He is also the chair of Rotary Foundation (India). Mehta has received Rotary’s Service Above Self Award and The Rotary Foundation’s Citation for Meritorious Service and Distinguished Service Awards.

He and his wife, Rashi, are Major Donors and members of the Bequest Society.