MARK DANIEL MALONEY
Rotary Day at the United Nations, which
we celebrate each November, is an important
reminder of the historic relationship between our
organizations. But this year’s event is even more
important than usual, because we are building up
to the 75th anniversary of the signing of the UN
Charter in June 2020.
You might ask, why celebrate this anniversary?
For Rotary, it is entirely appropriate, because we
played such a critical leadership role in the San
Francisco Conference that formed the United
Nations in 1945. Throughout World War II,
Rotary published materials about the importance
of forming such an organization to preserve
Not only did Rotary help influence the formation
of the UN, but The Rotarian also played a leading
part in communicating its ideals. Rotary educated
members about plans to create the UN through
numerous articles in the magazine and through
a booklet titled From Here On! When the time
came to write the UN charter, Rotary was one of 42
organizations the United States invited to serve as
consultants to its delegation at the San Francisco
Each organization had seats for three
representatives, so Rotary International’s 11
representatives served in rotation. The people
officially representing Rotary included the general
secretary, the current and several past presidents,
and the editor of The Rotarian. In addition,
Rotarians from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and
North and South America served as members of or
consultants to their own nations’ delegations.
We have a deep and lasting relationship with the
UN that deserves to be celebrated and appreciated.
To recognize this relationship, Rotary will host
five special events between now and June: Rotary
Day at the UN in New York on the 9th of this
month; three presidential conferences next year in
Santiago, Chile, in Paris, and in Rome; and a final
celebration just before the Rotary International
Convention in Honolulu.
The focus on the UN in the year ahead is not only
about the past; it also lights a path to our future.
There are so many parallels between the work
we do through our areas of focus and the work
of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. While
those goals are indeed incredibly ambitious, they
provide inspiration and direction — and are similar
to many Rotary goals, which have proven to create
lasting, positive change in our world. The goals can
be achieved, but only if undertaken with the same
long-term commitment and tenacity that Rotary
understands so well. Alone, we cannot provide
clean water for all, we cannot eliminate hunger, we
cannot eradicate polio. But together, with partners
like the United Nations, of course we can.
Please consider attending one of our five UN
celebrations. I look forward to sharing news of
these special events with you throughout the year.