HOME

GLOBAL

DISTRICTS

CLUBS

MISSING HISTORIES

PAUL HARRIS

PEACE

PRESIDENTS

CONVENTIONS

POST YOUR HISTORY

WOMEN

FOUNDATION

COMMENTS

PHILOSOPHY

LEGAL ISSUES

CLUB PRESIDENTS

DISTRICT GOVERNORS

TRUSTEES

DIRECTORS

1ST PRESIDENT

TIMELINE

SEARCH

EARLY HISTORY

RGHF VOICES VIDEO

FAMOUS WOMEN

ROTARY ANN

JEAN THOMSON

INNER WHEEL

SUBSCRIPTIONS

FACEBOOK

JOIN RGHF

EXPLORE RGHF

RGHF QUIZ

RGHF MISSION

 

A statement of the international culture of Rotary,

by Paul Harris

 

During their 1935 trip to Australia, Paul and Jean Harris

were on their way to visit the Koala Park, and had this experience.

 

Peregrinations - Volume II* "En route to the park [Koala Park] we attended a meeting of the Rotary Club of Parramatta, where I was cured of an indisposition by the friendly spirit and good cheer which characterized the meeting. I was glad to meet Rotarians of North Sydney once again. After the meeting I planted another friendship tree in a public park.

 

After the planting I had a friendly talk with a minister who had attended the meeting at Parramatta. He thought it an excellent meeting but thought that it would have been fine if the members had sung some song of international purport rather than the national anthem. I had given much thought to the matter and was in full agreement with him.  Rotary is an international movement, and I do not think that it would dilute anyone's sense of patriotism if he were to sing weekly a song, the sentiment of which would be acceptable throughout the world. Perhaps I can best illustrate what I mean by indicating sentiments which are sometimes expressed in song and which obviously cannot be expected to meet with universal favor -- 'Deutschland Über alles,' 'England, Mistress of the Seas,' and "America, the home of the brave.' The latter is less flagrant, perhaps, than the first two but the implication that one must come to America to find men who are brave naturally would not always be favorably received.

 

Some may think that I have drawn my sights too fine, that few, if any, would feel as I do about the matter. I am convinced, however, that there are a considerable number who do. Now that I, an American, have spoken, I will summon an Australian Rotarian who said 'I never see an American flag without experiencing a sense of irritation; we all speak on language;' and a highly educated Chinese Rotarian who said, ' We are tired of drinking toasts to the King.'

 

Of course the views of the Australian would wound any American who loves his flag. They left me, I am sorry to say, speechless. By the same token, the words of the Chinese Rotarian would jar the sensibilities of any Englishman.

 

God forbid that I write anything calculated to dilute the love of any man for his country; it is because of my realization of the fact that one's love of his country is sacred that I find myself in sympathy with the Rotarian from Parramatta who thinks that an international fellowship might well confine itself to the expression of universally acceptable sentiments in song and in toast.

We are engaged in a great experiment, that of encouraging international good will and understanding. The history of the world to date is a revelation of the delicacy of our task and the magnitude of our undertaking. We are not organized for religious or political propaganda. Should our practices not be made to conform with our ideal?" Paul P. Harris

 

Peregrinations - Volume II,  pages 130-132, By Paul P. Harris, copyright 1935, Jean T. Harris, courtesy of the Rotary International archives.


 

 

RGHF members, who have been invited to this page, may register.

 

If a DGE/N/D joins prior to their year, they will have more exposure to Rotary's Global History by their service year.

This will be beneficial to all concerned.

*Based on paid members, subscribers, Facebook friends, Twitter followers, mobile app users, History Library users, web pages, and articles about Rotary's Global History

 

RGHF Home | Disclaimer | Privacy | Usage Agreement | RGHF on Facebook | Subscribe | Join RGHFRotary's Memory