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The Wisdom of Paul Harris

These quotes from Paul P. Harris encapsulate fundamental principles of Rotary: leadership through service, the importance of kindness and gratitude, the strength in diversity, and the imperative to actively create positive change. His words continue to inspire Rotarians and non-Rotarians alike to live purposefully and contribute to a better world.

Fellowship and Global Understanding:

"The foundation upon which Rotary is built is friendship; on no less firm foundation could it have stood."

Rotary's international student exchange programs foster global understanding by allowing students from different countries to experience new cultures, build international friendships, and understand diverse perspectives.

Ethics and Integrity:

"Whatever Rotary may mean to us, to the world it will be known by the results it achieves."

The Rotary Four-Way Test is used in business and professional settings to encourage ethical decision-making, asking if actions are truthful, fair, beneficial, and fostering goodwill.


"Rotary is a cross-section of the business and professional life of the community."

Rotary clubs worldwide are composed of members from various professions, races, genders, and cultures, reflecting the organization's commitment to diversity and inclusivity.

Vocational Expertise, Service, and Leadership:

"It is the privilege of each Rotarian to represent his or her vocation to other club members and to exemplify the characteristics of one's profession in one's relationship with them."

Rotary's Vocational Service Month encourages members to use their professional skills to support service projects, mentor young professionals, and lead community improvement initiatives.

Impact and Leadership:

"Success is not measured by wealth, but by the positive impact you have on others."

Harris believed that true success comes from the positive impact on others, emphasizing the essence of leadership as inspiring others to be their best, noting, "True leadership is about inspiring others to be their best selves" .

Kindness and Service:

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted."

He also believed in the transformative power of service, asserting, "The only way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."

Diversity and Personal Growth:

“Our differences make us stronger; let's celebrate diversity."

On personal development and societal change, he advised, "The best way to change the world is to start with yourself."

Proactivity and Gratitude:

“Don't wait for opportunities, create them."

He highlighted gratitude’s transformative role, stating, "Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life."


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