Looking back at RI conventions past
The first national convention of the Rotary Clubs of America was held in Rotary’s birthplace, Chicago, in 1910.
On 15 August 1910, Paul Harris convened the first National Convention of the Rotary Clubs of America.
“This is going to be a convention in which we will get down to business and endeavor to launch the National Association of Rotary Clubs. We need the best thought and cooperation of every single man who is here," Harris told the 60 registrants assembled at the Congress Hotel in Chicago.
At the time of the 1910 Convention, Rotary had 16 clubs and more than 1,000 members. In 2005, more than 39,000 people attended the RI Convention in Chicago to celebrate Rotary's centennial.
Rotary has held conventions throughout the world ‑ including Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1921; Mexico City in 1953; Lucerne, Switzerland, in 1957; and Tokyo in 1978. These yearly meetings combine Rotary business with fellowship and feature guest speakers, workshops, meetings, and exhibits.
The International Fellowship of Rotarian Convention Goers, a group of Rotarians dedicated to promoting and attending the RI gatherings, encourages all Rotarians to attend at least one convention, where they will form new friendships and learn how Rotarians worldwide carry out humanitarian efforts and promote ethical service through their vocations.
For more information about Rotary history, visit Rotary History and Archives
or the Rotary Global History Fellowship.