"International Service encompasses actions taken to expand Rotary's humanitarian reach around the globe and to promote world understanding and peace.
Advancing world understanding and peace, which is expressed in the fourth part of the Object of Rotary, is an important focus of Rotarian service. It is the impetus for numerous service efforts and other cooperative ventures among Rotarians from different parts of the world. It is the reason Rotary International has a long-standing, close collaboration with the United Nations and many of its member agencies. Appropriately, every year the anniversary of the founding of Rotary, 23 February, is celebrated as World Understanding and Peace Day.
It was once thought that international understanding would be a byproduct of world trade and instantaneous communication. However, although globalization may be bringing the world closer together, universal tolerance and peace sadly remain out of reach.
- Twenty-seven major armed conflicts were under way throughout the world in the late 1990s, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute - all but two of them internal conflicts.
- Conflicts have produced some 31 million refugees and other displaced persons, most of them women and children.
- Imbalances of power among nations, tensions between religious and ethnic groups, and the widening gap between rich and poor within and between nations cause deep resentments, which can easily turn into clashes."