Rotary International is an international service organization.  Our mission is to provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through our fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders. We are non-religious, non-political and open to everyone.  Club members are called Rotarians and we have over 35,000 clubs, with over 1.2 million members in over 200 countries and territories... truly a global organization.  Our motto is “service above self” and we are headquartered is in Evanston, Illinois where Shekhar Metha, from India, serves as our Rotary International President for the 2021-2022 Rotary year.
A bit of history
The first Rotary Club was created by Paul Harris, an attorney, in Chicago. He organized a meeting with a few other businessmen on 23 February 1905. One was a mining engineer, another a coal merchant and one was a tailor. The aim was to exchange ideas and build long-lasting, meaningful friendships.
These men chose the name Rotary because they then started rotating between each man’s office for their subsequent weekly meetings. However, within a year of the first meeting, their club became so big that they had to settle on a single regular meeting place.
Over the years, the Rotary Club’s reach and vision progressively turned towards humanitarian service. 
Structure and organization
To carry out all our different activities, Rotary is structured into several different levels: club, district, zone and international. Each club is chartered by Rotary International, headquartered in Evanston, Illinois. The 35,000 different clubs across the world are grouped into over 500 districts which are themselves divided into varying zones.
A Rotary Club in the basic unit of Rotary activity. Each club decides who their members are, what the costs of membership are, the manner in which they meet and what service activities they focus on.
Clubs must meet regularly (defined as at least twice per month); while the format of such meetings is determined by the club members.  Most meetings include a discussion of club business and have guest speakers to further our understanding of each other, the world in which we live and to foster social friendships. Each club is also responsible for organizing various service projects within their own local community. They also take part in special projects with other clubs around their district or with ‘sister clubs’ in another country. They also organize a range of social events throughout the year.   We have our own Constitution and By-laws and elect our own president and board of directors.  Our “Rotary Year” begins July 1 with the installation of a new club President and Board and ends June 30 with a celebration of our annual accomplishments.  Each District holds an annual District Conference and Rotary International holds an annual Convention.
Rotaract is the equivalent Rotary Club for young adults who take part in community and international service. There, they gain leadership skills and participate in professional development. The Rotaract Clubs can be either community or university based. “Rotaract” stands for “Rotary in Action”. The Rotaract motto is “Self Development – Fellowship through Service”.  Rotaract first started as a Rotary International program. The first club was created in 1968 in Charlotte, North Carolina, US. Rotaract became a membership type of Rotary International in 2019, and no longer just a program.

Rotary’s causes
Promoting peace
Rotary aims to promote conversation to develop understanding within and between different cultures. As part of our activities, we train adults and young leaders to avoid conflict, mediate disputes and support refugees who have fled war-torn or dangerous regions.  We have global university programs with “Peace Fellows” providing advance degrees in various aspects of peace development.
Fighting disease
Rotarians educate and equip communities to limit or halt the spread of dangerous or life-threatening diseases like HIV/AIDS, malaria and polio. We work hard to improve and grow access to healthcare in developing regions.
Providing sanitation, clean water, and hygiene
We support efforts to provide hygiene, sanitation and clean water to increasing numbers of people. Not only do we build wells but we also share our knowledge and expertise with local leaders and educators to ensure that the efforts are sustainable.
Saving mothers and children
Poor health, malnutrition and inadequate sanitation is responsible for the death of close to 6 million children under 5 years-old every year. Rotarians develop innovative programs for expanding quality care, so that mothers and children can live longer and healthier lives.
Supporting education
Currently, there are over 775 million people who are over 15 years-old and cannot read or write. Rotary aims to increase and improve the ability of communities to provide basic education and literacy, to both children and adults, while reducing gender disparity in education.
Growing local economies
Rotary carries out programs that aim to better community and economic development and create work opportunities for both old and young. We work with local leaders and entrepreneurs within poor communities, and especially women, to strengthen and increase their skills.
Protecting the Environment
Rotarians work hard to tackle environmental issues by developing projects in our local and global communities, using our network of leaders to take action, change policies and plan for the future.
Ending polio forever
For over 35 years, Rotarians have made our number one priority the eradication of polio across the world. An initiative, started in 1979, with the vaccination of 6 million children in the Philippines, has reduced annual global cases (with accompanying paralysis and/or death) from more than a half million in the 1950’s to a handful in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Some of our Programs
Rotary programs are aimed at forming the next generation of leaders. We do this by offering funding to make the world better and prioritize peace. The programs are not reserved to club members. You can also make a positive difference within your local community, without being a Rotarian.
Rotary Peace Fellowships
Every year, Rotary International picks about 100 professionals from all across the world to receive a fully-funded academic fellowship at one of Rotary’s Peace Centers.
Rotary Community Corps
The Rotary Community Corps is responsible for bringing together local Rotarians and non-members to bring about positive change.
Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA)
RYLA is developed specifically for young people (typically junior year of high school) and is a leadership development program. The aim is to focus on values, build confidence and have fun. RYLA events range from week-long camps to one-day seminars often led by RYLA graduates with Rotary guidance.
Rotary Youth Exchange
The aim of the Rotary Youth Exchange is for students to discover a new culture, learn another language, and become a truly global citizen.  With both short term (summer) and long term (school year) global exchange programs, young leaders are immersed in the lives and culture of another country.  YE students then return to share their experience and knowledge with Rotarians and their hometown.
Youth Service Exchange
Youth Service Exchange is dedicated to university students and you professionals younger than 30. It is a customizable, short-term program in which the participants can arrange exchanges that bring together their own professional goals and a wider humanitarian aid project.
Rotary Clubs have been receiving, for 100 years, grants in order to support humanitarian aid, international exchanges and scholarships.
Every year, Rotary International invests over 7 million USD in philanthropists and future leaders, by funding scholarships for graduate and undergraduate study.
How to become a member
You can only become a member by receiving an invitation. This is to ensure that people join a club that fits their own perspective and interests. Rotary International can connect you with a club that is right for you, making it easy for you to get involved and become a member. Here is how the process goes.
You express interest
You first have to tell them a bit about yourself and what you are looking for in a club. 
Rotary matches you with a club
Rotary will then find a club in your area that fists your expectations, interests and preferences and contact them, letting them know you are interested.
A local club contacts you
A Rotarian will then get in touch with you, either via phone or email, to talk about your interest in Rotary. Once that is done, you will be invited to a club meeting, event, or even to volunteer for a project, where you can get to know the club better
The club invites you to join
Once you have spent some time getting to know your local club and have both decided that you fit in with the rest of the club, they will invite you to join them. Depending on the club, there will be different ways in which you can be welcomed, such as a ceremony.
You’re a member!
You can now take part in the various Rotary Club activities, such as joining the committee, organizing a social event, leading a project or anything else to do with your Club.