Rotary’s relationship with the United Nations dates back to 1945 when some 49 Rotary members acted as delegates, advisors and consultants at the United Nations Charter Conference. Today, Rotary holds the highest consultative status possible with the United Nations as a non-governmental organization.
Rotary and the United Nations
Rotary and the United Nations have a long history of working together and sharing similar visions for a more peaceful world.
In 1942, Rotary clubs from 21 nations organized a conference in London to develop a vision for advancing education, science, and culture after World War II. That event was a precursor to UNESCO. In 1945, 49 Rotarians went to San Francisco to help draft the UN Charter. Rotary and the UN have been close partners ever since, a relationship that’s apparent through PolioPlus and work with UN agencies.
“The invitation to Rotary International to participate in the United Nations Conference as consultant to the United States delegation was not merely a gesture of good will and respect toward a great organization. It was a simple recognition of the practical part Rotary’s members have played and will continue to play in the development of understanding among nations. The representatives of Rotary were needed at San Francisco and, as you well know, they made a considerable contribution to the Charter itself, and particularly to the framing of provisions for the Economic and Social Council.”
Rotary currently holds the highest consultative status offered to a nongovernmental organization by the UN’s Economic and Social Council, which oversees many specialized UN agencies. Rotary maintains and furthers its relationship with a number of UN bodies, programs, commissions, and agencies through its representative network . This network consists of RI representatives to the United Nations and other organizations.
Learn more about Rotary’s local and international work through Rotary: Navigating the Global Network .
Rotary-United Nations Day
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Each year at Rotary UN Day, more than 1300 Rotarians including many Rotary International Directors, Foundation Trustees, past Senior Leaders, and guests come together at UN Headquarters in New York. The program is designed to inspire and educate all participants as well as provide insight into the relationship between Rotary and the United Nations. In the past, the day has been very successful and has sold out.
Our speakers will include the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, President of Rotary International, Dong-Kurn Lee from Korea, the Chairman of the Rotary Foundation, Jonathan B. Majiyagbe PRIP from Nigeria, and the President-elect of Rotary International, John Kenny from Scotland. Additional speakers are Salil Shetty, Coordinator for the Millennium Group, James Sniffen, Information Officer, UN Environment Program, Martin Silink, President of International Diabetes Federation, and Dr. Ian Darton-Hill, UNICEF Special Advisor on ending Child Hunger and Under Nutrition.
We will also have panel discussions on Health, Water, Hunger and Literacy. Each of these panels will feature a UN system speaker and will showcase a Rotary project and will last 45 minutes. Time permitting we will have Q & A.
The day will begin at 9:30am and conclude by 4:00pm. Lunch will be in the UN Cafeteria, over looking the East River at 1:00pm.
Rotary Day at the United Nations also includes a special program for youth interested in humanitarian service. Youth will have the opportunity to hear about a model UN program, the Shelter Box project, some projects that Interact Clubs are working on, and an overview of the UN and much more. The program begins at 9:30am and concludes at 12:30 followed by lunch. Participants are welcome to join the adult program after lunch