International Service

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The Purpose of International Service

The development of understanding and goodwill among Rotarians and among the people at large is the specific task of International Service in Rotary.

The aim of International Service in Rotary is expressed in the fourth Avenue of Service; namely, to encourage and foster the advancement of international understanding, goodwill and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service. Freedom, justice, truth, sanctity of the pledged word, and respect for human rights are inherent in Rotary principles and are also vital to the maintenance of international peace and order and to human progress. In concept, International Service can be broken down into four general areas as follows:

1) World Community Service Activities;

2) International Educational and Cultural Exchange Activities;

3) Special International Observances and Events;

4) International Meetings.

Responsibility of the Individual Rotarian

Each Rotarian is expected to make an individual contribution to the achievement of the ideal inherent in the fourth
Avenue of Service. Each Rotarian is expected to be a loyal and serving citizen. Each Rotarian, wherever located,
working as an individual, should help to create a well-informed public opinion. Such opinion will inevitably affect governmental policies concerned with the advancement of international understanding and goodwill toward all peoples.

A world-minded Rotarian:

1) will look beyond national patriotism and share responsibility for the advancement of international understanding, goodwill and peace;

2) will resist any tendency to act in terms of national or racial superiority;

3) will seek and develop common grounds for agreement with peoples of other lands;

4) will defend the rule of law and order to preserve the liberty of the individual so that all may enjoy freedom of thought, speech, and assembly, freedom from persecution and aggression, and freedom from want and fear;

5) will support action directed towards improving standards of living for all peoples, realizing that poverty anywhere endangers prosperity everywhere;

6) will uphold the principles of justice for mankind, recognizing that these are fundamental and must be worldwide;

7) will strive always to promote peace between nations and will be prepared to make personal sacrifices for that ideal;

8) will urge and practice a spirit of understanding of every other person's beliefs as a step towards international goodwill, recognizing that there are certain basic moral and spiritual standards which, if practiced, will ensure a
richer, fuller life.


  • The GSE program began in 1955 as the idea of a New Zealand district. Originally known as the Rotary Overseas Travel Award (ROTA), it was adopted by the Trustees as an official educational program in 1965.
  • As of the end of the 1999-2000 Rotary year, 8,063 teams had traveled, with another 587 scheduled for 2000-01. Through 1999-2000, 42,209 participants had taken advantage of the program, with 2,935 more alumni presumed for 2000-01. For 2001-02, more than 590 teams were paired, adding nearly 3,000 more participants to the total.
  • Expenditures through 1999-2000 were more than US$73 million. In 1999-2000 alone, the Foundation spent US$3,825,111.81 for the program.


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