Rotary clubs and districts across the globe are participating in an array of activities and service projects to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Rotary on 23 February.

"There are few organizations that last a hundred years," says Rotary International President Glenn E. Estess Sr. in a centennial video message to clubs and districts. "The fact that Rotary has reached this important milestone is a sign that there is a tremendous need for all that Rotary offers."

According to the RI president, the outstanding centennial projects and partnerships forged by all the world's Rotary clubs are emblematic of Rotary's service achievements in the past century.

"Centennial projects and partnerships show Rotary at its best," says Estess.

The hundreds of special projects and events planned for Rotary's centennial birthday include the following:

  Rotarians throughout New Zealand will be the first to welcome in the centennial by dedicating 100 centennial service projects, many of them addressing environmental and conservation issues.

  More than 1,000 Rotarians in Korea will pack the audience at KBS-TV studios in Seoul for the national broadcast of a one-hour, prime-time tribute to Rotary, which will include the presentation of US$500,000 collected by Rotary clubs to help victims of the December 2004 tsunami.

  Hundreds of Rotary clubs in South Asia will provide vision-screening clinics for schoolchildren at risk for cataracts, glaucoma, and other preventable or correctable eye conditions.

  In Nairobi, Kenya, Rotarians will host national government leaders and members of the diplomatic community at a luncheon roundtable on world peace and understanding, followed by a party for hundreds of disabled children.

  Rotarians in Moscow will travel to a school in the small town of Suzdal, Russia, to donate computers to replace ones that were stolen.

  Millions of moviegoers in France will learn about Rotary when a video about

 the organization runs as a short feature just before the nationwide debut of a major motion picture.

  A team of Rotarians in Argentina will get a bird's-eye view of the centennial when they reach the summit of Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere (22,834 feet). Once at the top, they will plant the flags of Rotary and Argentina.

  A team of Rotarians in Argentina will get a bird's-eye view of the centennial when they reach the summit of Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere (22,834 feet). Once at the top, they will plant the flags of Rotary and Argentina.

  Clubs in Jamaica have invited 100 Rotarians from around the world to join them for 100 hours of community service, which will include beach cleanups, tree plantings, and care visits to senior citizens.

  In Chicago, where attorney Paul P. Harris founded Rotary in 1905, members of the Rotary Club of Chicago will announce their participation in the city's summer youth jobs program. Rotarians have committed to provide 100 paid summer internships, one for each Rotary year, for eligible Chicago Public Schools students.

  In Anaheim, California, USA, more than 500 district governors-elect from around the world will break from their International Assembly sessions to roll up their sleeves at Second Harvest Food Bank, where they will box 58,000 pounds of food for distribution to needy families.

  Thanks to the efforts of Rotarians in Hungary, Rotary club members around the world will be able to attend a virtual Rotary club meeting online at centennial.rotary.hu.

  The Rotary Club of Frankfort, Kentucky, USA, will re-enact the first meeting of Rotary's founders.

Rotary began on the evening of 23 February 1905, when Harris met with three business colleagues in hopes of recapturing in a professional club the same friendly spirit they had experienced growing up in small-town America. They called their club the Rotary Club of Chicago, after the early practice of rotating weekly meetings among members' offices. As the Rotary movement grew and clubs were chartered around the world, Rotarians took up community service projects and promoted ethical standards in business.

A century later, over 1.2 million men and women are members of more than 31,000 Rotary clubs in 166 countries united under the banner Service Above Self. Through the numerous humanitarian, intercultural, and educational programs of Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation, Rotary clubs work to realize Rotary's vision of improving the human condition and to advance world understanding and peace.

One of the world's largest and most successful volunteer service organizations, Rotary is now working toward meeting its greatest challenge: eradicating polio worldwide. During this centennial year, Rotary's top priority is stopping the spread of the disease in the world's six remaining polio-endemic countries. "Eradicating polio will be Rotary's great legacy to the children of the world," says RI President Estess.