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HISTORY OF ROTARY ZONES, also see History of Districts
 
Zones were first established in 1939 to clarify the procedures for nomination of directors and election of officers of Rotary International.

Zones continue to be the basis for the process of electing members of the Board of Directors. In accordance with the by-laws, zone composition is reviewed at least every eight years to ensure that each zone has approximately the same number of Rotarians. As of 1 July 2009, there are *34 zones, realigned effective as of that date.

At the 1939 International Convention, the Board of Directors sponsored proposed Enactment 39-3 “To provide for the nomination of directors from the United States by zones and to generally clarify the provisions relating to the procedure for the nomination and election of officers of Rotary International.” The Council on Legislation amended and combined this enactment with proposed enactment 39-1, and adopted the combined enactments “To provide more effective methods for the nomination of the president of Rotary International; to provide for the nomination of directors from the United States by zones, and to generally clarify the provisions relating to-the procedure for the nomination and election of officers of Rotary International.”

Thus, the by-laws were changed so that nominations for directors would come from each of the following groups:

(A) United States of America (divided into five zones)
(B) Canada and Newfoundland
(C) Great Britain and Ireland

For the purposes of proposing candidates from Group A, the United States of America was divided into five zones, as follows, with provisions for districts that fell into the boundaries of multiple zones:

Zone No. 1: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Zone No. 2: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Zone No. 3: Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.
Zone No. 4: Alabama, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
Zone No. 5: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island and Vermont.

By October 1958 a three-zone system had been implemented in Ibero America “for the purposes of proposing candidates for director from clubs in Ibero America, and for this purpose only.”

By the mid-1980s (perhaps earlier) zones were also established in other parts of the world for the purpose of proposing nominations to the Board of Directors. Zones also became the basis for organizing and administering conferences, institutes, and training.  
 
By 1 July 1976, other parts of the Rotary world were 'zoned'. At their first meeting of 1975/6, The Board of Directors expanded zoning globally in order to "be effective for the nomination of directors in the next succeeding fiscal year." In 1995 the Council on Legislation, with proposed enactment 95-91 and resolution 95-171 determined that "The world shall be divided into 34 Zones that are approximately equal in the number of Rotarians." Prior to 1995, each Zone was numbered within their respective regions. This was the first modification of the original global zone designation. Over the years other modifications have been made such as when Luxembourg and Belgium were incorporated into Zone 18 on 1 July 2008. Zones 17 and 18 (which were made up of the RIBI districts) were divided into 3 sections: Zone 17- RIBI, incorporating England North/Mid, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland; Zone 18A incorporating  RIBI England South; and 18B incorporating Belgium and Luxembourg. 

One interesting resolution passed at the 1995 Council on Legislation in Caracas was that in even numbered years, odd numbered zones would nominate directors, and vice versa. There was also special provision needed for the zones covering RIBI. It was also resolved that at least every 12 years, the Board should review the zone boundaries to equalize the numbers.

History of Rotary Zones - Updated on 15 November 2009 by Rotary History & Archives (SH)
zones

zones

 
*Some zones are also divided into zone sections, used at RGHF, making a total of 49 zones and sections see www.historyboard.org. Rotary International combines some zone sections, but maintains a board of 17 plus the president and president elect.
 
Courtesy of the Rotary History and Archives department of Rotary International. Provide by RGHF senior historian Basil Lewis, England and post 8 September 2011 by Jack Selway
 
 
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