Paul Harris’ vision can be seen as having created the spirit in Rotary as we know it today. Here are some examples of Paul Harris’ wisdom:
- “A well-ordered mind is a possession more valuable than unlimited riches.”
- “It is just as easy to acquire the habit of speaking kindly as it is to acquire the habit of speaking unkindly.”
- “Perhaps dreaming is not so bad if one dreams good dreams and make them come true.”
- “Rotary brings out and develops the best there is in men.”
- "The Rotary of today is different from the Rotary of yesterday and the Rotary of tomorrow cannot, must not, be the same as the Rotary of today. Rotary must continue to evolve."
A visionary and peacemaker, Paul Harris' wish was to end the war and reignite Rotary in Germany, Italy and Japan. He was quoted as saying "he would like Rotarians around the world to make sure that such a war would never happen again."
In November 1943, Rotary sponsored a Conference in London with Ministers and observers from twenty-one Governments. This group began laying plans for what became UNESCO.
The Charter Meeting of the United Nations was held in San Francisco, 1945. Rotarians helped to draft the United Nations Charter at the request of the U.S. State Department. Many of the delegates from around the world were Rotarians, representing their own countries.
Twelve prominent Rotarians helped to develop the UN Charter with resulting influence on the humane aspects of the UN Charter. The Secretary of State, Edward R. Stettinius, Jr. wrote the following thank you note:
"The invitation to Rotary International to participate in the United Nations Conference as consultant to the United States delegation was not merely a gesture of good will and respect toward a great organization. It was a simple recognition of the practical part Rotary's members have played and will continue to play in the development of understanding among nations. The representatives of Rotary were needed at San Francisco and, as you well know, they made a considerable contribution to the Charter itself, and particularly to the framing of provisions for the Economic and Social Council."
On the founding of the United Nations, Rotary became one of the original Non-Governmental Organizations that were invited to participate. Rotary still maintains this position.
Rotarian Thomas McConnon has written about Rotary’s role in the founding of the United Nations. You can read about it at http://nyrotaryunitednations.blogspot.com/2008/05/test.html.
Rotary has an incredible asset of talent, leaders, wisdom and know-how in one organisation. With 1.2 million Rotarians worldwide in more than 215 countries and territories.