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The History of the Rotary Club

The first Rotary Club in the world was organized in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A., on 23 February 1905 by Paul P. Harris, a young lawyer, who gathered together in a spirit of friendship and understanding a group of men, each of whom was engaged in a different form of service to the public. That basis of membership – one man from each business and profession in the community – still exists in Rotary. At first, the members of the new club met in rotation at various places of business of the members and this suggested the name “Rotary”.

Since 1905, the ideas of Paul Harris and his friends have become ideals which have been accepted by men of practically all nationalities and of many political and religious beliefs. Today there are Rotary clubs in Austria and American Samoa, in Brazil and Brunei, in India and Italy, in Scotland and South Africa – in some 172 countries and geographical regions. The universal acceptance of Rotary principles has been so great that as of June 1994 there are some 26,850 Rotary clubs, which have membership of 1,187,500. The Philippines itself is divided into nine separate districts with a total of 537 Rotary clubs and 17,011 Rotarians.

The general objectives of Rotary clubs in every country are the same – the development of fellowship and understanding among the business and professional men in the community, the promotion of community betterment endeavors, and of high standards in business and professional practices, and the advancement of international understanding, goodwill and peace. Rotary clubs everywhere have one basic ideal – the “Ideal of Service”, which is thoughtfulness of and helpfulness to others.


  • To encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:
  • The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service;
  • High ethical standards in business and professions;
  • the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations;
  • and the dignifying by each Rotarian of his occupation as an opportunity to serve society;
  • The application of the ideal of service by every Rotarian to his personal, business and community life;
  • The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional men united in the ideal of service.

The Code of Ethics The members of the Rotary Club of Manila, keeping faith and unreserved belief in the spirit of Rotary and all that it stands for, bind themselves to observe the following:

  • My duty towards the common good transcends all others including my own interest.
  • I shall uphold this doctrine in time of peace, emergency of war.
  • I solemnly promise to help advance the objects of Rotary to comply with the Constitution and By-Laws of my Club, ever putting into practice Rotary’s motto “Service Above Self”.
  • I shall keep faith with the universal spirit of Rotary and promote the advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional men united in the ideal of service.
  • I shall regard my business or profession as my opportunity to develop acquaintance and express myself in service to society.
  • I shall maintain and share the dignity and worthiness of my calling by the acceptance and promotion of high standards and the elimination of questionable practices.
  • I shall value success in my vocation as a worthy ambition only when achieved as a result of service to society and as it helps others to be successful; to accept no profit nor distinction which arises from unfair advantage, abuse of privilege or betrayal of trust.
  • I shall uphold as a principle of sound business transaction the primacy of the common good and the mutual satisfaction of all parties concerned.
  • I shall strive to protect my fellowmen especially Rotarians at all times against fraud, misinterpretation, or unethical practices in all my transactions.
  • I shall serve my patrons with true interest and conscientious solicitude.
  • I shall be reasonable in all my acts and practices and shall keep faith in the Gold Rule. Prepared in 1954 by the Rotary Code of Ethics Committee Rotary Club of Manila

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