World Understanding and Peace Day takes place on February 23 every year. This day is actually a commemoration of the first meeting of Rotary that was held. This meeting of businessmen, which aimed to be a space where their backgrounds didn’t matter, started the chain of events that led to the formation of Rotary International. An international organization dedicated to humanitarian service as well as peace and goodwill throughout the world, Rotary International began in Chicago, U.S. The date of the first meeting has since become World Understanding and Peace Day, which is part of the World Understanding Month celebrations in February.
History of World Understanding and Peace Day
World Understanding and Peace Day commemorates the first meeting which led to the formation of Rotary International. Attorney Paul P. Harris called a meeting of his business friends in Chicago. He aimed to put together a fellowship of businessmen without limitations of politics and religion getting in the way. Initially, the members of the Rotary met in each other’s offices, till the group grew so large that it needed a space of its own. The Rotary Clubs were then established in four other American cities, and eventually, the group spread internationally, leading to a change in name from Rotary Club to the International Association of Rotary Clubs. As time passed, the name was changed again to Rotary International.
The organization has worked with the U.N. since the United Nations Organization was founded. Rotary International is a service organization that brings together businessmen and professionals so that they can offer humanitarian service and work towards the goals of goodwill and peace in the world. It has six areas of philanthropic focus — disease prevention and treatment, water and sanitation, maternal and child health, basic education and literacy, economic and community development, and peace and conflict prevention/resolution.
As part of its commitment to peace, Rotary International has set up Rotary Centers for International Studies in peace and conflict resolution in eight universities around the world. Rotary Fellowships offer grants to study at these Centers as well. The organization also has a Rotary Peace and Conflict Resolution Program which is a graduate studies program for which 75 scholars are announced every year.
World Understanding and Peace Day timeline
Paul P. Harris calls a meeting of three of his friends in Chicago on February 23 and this is the first meeting of Rotary International.
The first Rotary Clubs in America are founded in San Francisco, Seattle, Oakland, and in Los Angeles, the National Association is formed.
The club spreads across the world and becomes an increasingly large and influential organization, necessitating a name change to Rotary International.
This group is supposed to energize peacebuilders among the Rotarians and work towards Rotary’s goals of global peacebuilding and positive resolution.
World Understanding and Peace Day FAQs
Why is the International Day of Peace significant?
The International Day of Peace is better known as World Peace Day. It is a time to honor all world leaders and citizens that have contributed toward peace in all walks of life. The International Day of Peace is a United Nations-sponsored event that celebrates peace throughout the world.
What is the purpose of Rotary International?
Rotary International is an international service organization whose purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders to provide humanitarian service and advance goodwill and peace globally. It is a non-political and non-religious organization. Membership is by invitation and based on various social factors.
What are the activities of a Rotary Club?
Locally, a Rotary club may spearhead many more projects, including donating school supplies to the local public school, hosting foreign exchange students, or renovating a city park. Members of Rotary clubs are expected to attend club meetings every week, pay annual dues, and participate in activities and projects.
How to Observe World Understanding and Peace Day
Attend programs at your local Rotary Club
Rotary Clubs across the world organize talks, events, and related programs to celebrate World Understanding and Peace Day throughout February. You could attend a few and inspire your friends.
Begin a project for peace
From art to community service, you can start any kind of project that promotes peacebuilding and conflict resolution. You could extend it by hosting it at your public library.
Learn more about conflict resolution
Sign up for classes, read more on the internet, or go for lectures and talks. Generally, become more informed about the processes of peace.
5 Incredible Facts About Rotary
The Rotary Club existed before the U.N.
Rotary International works closely with the U.N. to promote peace-building activities, and the organization has consultant status with the U.N.
Clubs were disbanded during WW2
Across Europe, Rotary Clubs were disbanded with the outbreak of war, starting with the Spanish Civil War.
Nazis banned it
At first, the Nazi party banned Rotary, then the organization was forced to ban Jewish people.
The organization contributed to polio vaccinations
The PolioPlus program is one of Rotary’s greatest contributions, immunizing billions of children worldwide.
There are Rotary Peace Fellows
Fellowships are offered to individuals to study peace and conflict resolution at the Rotary Peace Centers — the tie-ups that Rotary has with universities to promote peace studies.
Why World Understanding and Peace Day is Important
We believe in the cause
We want to be part of the change that encourages peace and understanding around the world. Hopefully, it will lead to wars coming to an end.
We want to spread information
Rotary International’s peace-building work is spread across nations. It’s an important space for people to learn from and contribute to peace.
We want to learn about peacebuilding
Rotary’s World Understanding and Peace Day is a great opportunity to explore how we can all contribute to peace around the world. Learn all you can today!
World Understanding and Peace Day dates