History and Values
RIRC is Club Number 51459 of Rotary International, and the club was chartered on 22 August 1998.
We are part of Rotary-District number 2410, which includes Southern Sweden and Latvia.
The First Club
PAUL P. HARRIS, an attorney, formed the Rotary Club of Chicago (Illinois, USA) on 23 February 1905. His aim was to recapture in a professional club the same friendly spirit he had felt in the small towns of his youth.
Origins of the Rotary Name
The name “Rotary” derives from the early practice of rotating weekly meetings in a member’s office rather than at a permanent meeting place as is the prevailing custom today.
Rotary Outside USA
Rotary’s popularity spread throughout the United States in the following decades and later to Canada and Europe.
The first Club outside Northern America was founded on 22 February 1911 in Dublin.
By the early 1920s, the movement had spread to six continents and had adopted the name of ROTARY INTERNATIONAL.
Service Above Self
Whereas, in the beginning, the clubs’ aim had been limited to serving the professional and social interests of their members, Rotarians began pooling their resources and contributing their talents to help serve communities in need.
That aim is expressed in the Movement’s principal motto: SERVICE ABOVE SELF.
Rotary and UNESCO
During and after World War II, Rotarians became increasingly involved in promoting international understanding. A Rotary conference held in London in 1942 planted the seeds for the development of the United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Numerous Rotarians have since served as consultants to the UNESCO.
An endowment fund set up by Rotarians in 1917 “for doing good in the world” became a non-profit organization in 1928 known as the ROTARY FOUNDATION.
Upon Paul Harris’ death in 1947, a total of US$2 million was donated in his honour by Rotarians, and the Foundation’s first program was launched – graduate fellowships, now called Ambassadorial Scholarships.
Today with contributions to the Rotary Foundation is supported a wide range of humanitarian grants and educational programs which enable Rotarians to bring hope and promote international understanding throughout the world.
Eradication of POLIO
In 1985, Rotary made a historic commitment to immunize all of the world’s children against polio. Working in partnership with nongovernmental organizations and national governments through its POLIOPLUS program, Rotary is the largest private-sector contributor to the global polio eradication campaign.
We have faced many challenges in our journey to eradicate polio. But we’ve made remarkable progress, and the polio infrastructure that Rotarians helped build will serve as a lasting legacy that will continue to help protect vulnerable children against other diseases for decades to come.
Other Social Programs
At this beginning of the XXI century, Rotary works to meet the changing needs of society, expanding its service effort to address such pressing issues as environmental degradation, illiteracy, world hunger and children at risk.
Women were first admitted as members in 1989; they have since joined in large numbers and made an important contribution to the Rotary’s potential and impact.
Rotary in Latvia
Following the collapse of the Berlin wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Rotary Clubs were established or re-established throughout Central and Eastern Europe. The first Rotary Club was founded in Latvia in 1932 and today, there are currently 21 Rotary Clubs throughout Latvia.
Rotary in the World
Object of Rotary
The Object of Rotary is 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 of each Rotarian’s occupation as an opportunity to serve society;
- the application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian’s personal, business, and community life;
- the advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.
The Four-Way test
From the earliest days of the Organization, Rotarians were concerned with promoting high ethical standards in their professional lives. One of the world’s most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics is the Four-Way Test which was created in 1932 by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor (who later served as Rotary International President) when he was asked to take charge of a company that was facing bankruptcy.
This 24-word code of ethics for the company to follow in their business and professional lives became the guide for sales, production, advertising, and all relations with dealers and customers, and the survival of that company is credited to this simple philosophy. Adopted by Rotary in 1943, the Four-Way Test has been translated into more than one 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?
”This simple test has proven to be a very effective guideline for countless situations in business and personal life and its application has often helped in making and keeping friends and bringing people together even in difficult and conflictive situations.
Declaration of Rotarians in Businesses and Professions
The Declaration of Rotarians in Businesses and Professions was adopted by the Rotary International Council on Legislation in 1989 to provide more specific guidelines for the high ethical standards called for in the Object of Rotary:“As a Rotarian engaged in a business or profession, I am expected to:
Consider my vocation to be another opportunity to serve;
Be fair to my employer, employees, associates, competitors, customers, the public, and all those with whom I have a business or professional relationship;
Offer my vocational talents to provide opportunities for young people, to work for the relief of the special needs of others, and to improve the quality of life in my community;
Neither seek nor grant to a fellow Rotarian a privilege or advantage not normally accorded to others in a business or professional relationship.”