March 8, 2021
The Featured Speaker on Monday March 8, 2021 was Mr. Peter Kyle, Rotary International (RI) Director 2020-22. Joining us from for the meeting were Rotarians from the Rotary Clubs of Abingdon Vesper (United Kingdom), Santa Barbara Sunrise(California), Anaheim Hills (California, and, Big Bear (California).
Mr. Kyle was born and raised in New Zealand and is currently a member of the Rotary Club of Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. He has had a distinguished career in international banking and although retired, continues to serve as a consultant to the World Bank. He has been a Rotarian for 45 years, lives in West River, Maryland and is celebrating his grandson’s birthday today.
Paul Harris founded Rotary in Chicago in 1905 and by 1910, there were 16 clubs focused on service. The organization began to expand by leaps about bounds. In 1918, there were 400 clubs. In 1921, the year Anaheim Rotary was founded, there were 1000 clubs. In 1925, there were 2000; 1936, 4000 clubs and by 1939, there were 5000 clubs containing around 150,000 Rotarians.
At that time, membership was limited to males in a respected position in their particular trade or vocation, the movers and shakers in their fields. Following the Great War (1914-1918), Rotary begin to focus on World Peace to prevent such a catastrophe from happening again. In 1921, Rotary met in Edinburgh to create an understanding in world peace. Rotary was the first Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) to get involved and be recognized in the international forum.
Meeting in Havana, Cuba in 1940, members of the convention adopted a resolution for the Respect for Human Rights. They met again in London in 1942 to discuss the war’s effect on the world. Rotarians were invited to assist in the creation of UNESCO. In 1944, Truman and Churchill met to discuss the absolution of future warfare and to put forth the creation of the United Nations. In the 1945 charter to create the UN, 49 of the delegates were Rotarians. Rotary international also provided a grant of $18,000 to fund the UN Internship program.
In the late 1980s, Rotary International reached out to the UN to establish the Rotary Representative Network to oversee Rotary’s relationship with not only the UN, but with other organizations such as European Union, UNESCO and the Arab League. Peter Kyle served as director of this network.
Also established was the Annual Rotary Day at the United Nations which includes an entire day of activities. A task force was established that oversees 25 environmental projects and created an Environmental Tool Kit to list and document future environmental programs. Unfortunately, the last three meetings have had to been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The question is, what will be Rotary’s focus once we have entire eradicated Polio? Since we already have our footprint in the international community, we have the opportunity to focus on peace and education to strive for a world peace. Finding local solutions to regional problems can assist greatly in community understanding.
Rotary is the largest community-based peace organization in the world. World Bank and UNESCO put Rotary International at the top of the list of civil society organizations. “Peace is in our DNA.”
Thank you, Peter. for joining us! It was a privilege to have you present to the Rotary Club of Anaheim, as was having a truly national and international group of attendees!
For more information on Rotary Peace Fellowships, please see the Rotary International Website at:
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