International Goodwill Meeting (also called International Goodwill Weekend) is a celebration of the historical event, which transformed Rotary to Rotary International.

In 1910, the Rotary Club of St. Paul Minnesota was successful in sponsoring a new Rotary Club in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Rotary Club of Winnipeg was the first Rotary Club established outside the United States. The Winnipeg Rotary Club was organized as Club # 35 on November 3rd, 1910 and is the oldest Rotary Club outside of the United States. The club was organized with the assistance of the Duluth Rotary Club and that is how Rotary became International.

According to the Rotary International publication Focus on Rotary (991-EN(1186)-408M) at page 9:

"Paul Harris' first attempt to establish a club outside the United States was aimed at Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, where, after several unsuccessful efforts, a club was organized in 1911. Thus Rotary became international."

On April 13, 1912, Paul Harris signed the Charter of the Rotary Club of Winnipeg.

At the Rotary Convention held in 1912 in Duluth, Minnesota, U.S.A., the name was changed to "The International Association of Rotary Clubs", which was shortened in 1922 to "Rotary International".

The 1917 Convention proved to be a significant milestone in the history of Rotary International. The first Rotary International president from outside the United States was Dr. E. Leslie Pidgeon, from the Rotary Club of Winnipeg, Club 35. Rev. Pidgeon was elected the Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. as the 8th president of Rotary International in 1917.

At that same Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, Arch Klumph (president 1916-1917) planted the seeds for the creation of the Foundation.

In Minneapolis on July 24, 1924, a Rotarian International Day took place. Arthur Johnson of the Winnipeg Club was present. The Union Jack flag and the Stars & Stripes flag were placed side by side for the first time at a Rotary meeting.

Bruce Richardson of the Winnipeg Club attended an International Meeting in Duluth later in the same year and hoped "that the Winnipeg Club would encourage the idea by arranging an International Day". While in Duluth, Bruce Richardson secured the promises of a number of Rotary Clubs to send American representatives to a similar meeting to be held in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Pledges were also secured from Minneapolis and St. Paul Clubs.

It was suggested that the date of this proposed "International Day" meetings coincide with the anniversary of the organization of Rotary International.

The first International Goodwill Meeting was held February 23, 1925 at the Royal Alexandra Hotel in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In attendance were representatives from 11 American clubs and 7 Canadian clubs. The speaker at the first International Goodwill Meeting was Past International President of Rotary International, Dr. Leslie Pidgeon. Through the following years the number of visiting Rotarians continued to grow.

In 1929, Paul Harris attended International Goodwill Weekend. His speech was on "Early Days of Rotary and its First Meetings in Chicago".

Past President of the Winnipeg Club, Gordon Hunter felt that proper recognition should be accorded all Rotarians attending Goodwill Meetings year after year.

Rotarians attending the International Goodwill Meetings wished to form their own organization of an international nature and on February 17, 1934 the "Order of Rotary International Fellowship" was created.

In 1935, the Rotary Club of Winnipeg celebrated its 25-year anniversary. Paul Harris sent a message of congratulations to the Rotary Club of Winnipeg, which was read at International Goodwill Weekend. The Rotary Club of New York sent the following message, which was read at International Goodwill Weekend: "the first stepping stone towards the Rotary goal of world-wide understanding through a world fellowship of business and professional men united in the ideal of service." A Rotary Club from Jerusalem wrote: "Your Club set the Rotary Wheel in motion on a journey which shall never end until the desired achievement of world peace is accomplished."

On February 23, 1946, Rotary International President, Tom Warren, of Wolverhamton, England, attended International Goodwill Weekend as the keynote speaker.

Rotarians, visiting from outside of Winnipeg, were eligible for admission to the "Order of Rotary International Fellowship" (O.R.I.F) after attending five Goodwill Meetings. Induction to membership was arranged to take place at a solemn ceremony during the Goodwill Banquet, with each new member receiving a gold-plated pin. In 1978, the Order of Rotary International Fellowship was expanded to include Winnipeg Rotarians.

The first 50 International Goodwill Meetings were conducted and hosted entirely by the Rotary Club of Winnipeg.

 
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