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FIRST FELLOWSHIP

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In 1928, according to Rotary International, Esperanto became the first Rotary Fellowship. Today, more than 90 fellowships offer Rotarians with similar vocational or recreational interests the chance to enjoy Rotary together.

By 1928, Rotary was becoming a truly international movement and problems of language were evident. At the time, much of the development of Rotary outside Europe, involved ex-pats, British or American, combining with local businessmen most of whom would have at least a smattering of English.

However, there was thought by many people to be a need for some auxiliary world language. It was even said that if, as a practical piece of service under the Sixth Object, Rotary Clubs had set to work to agitate for the teaching of a common language in all schools, then the world would have had a grown up generation with a common speech. The recommendation was for the universal language to be Esperanto, devised in 1887 by Dr.Ludwig Zamenhof.

Several individual Rotarians combined together to form a Rotary Esperanto Fellowship, the first Rotary Fellowship, in 1928. When it was founded, the 'Rotary Wheel' magazine not only carried articles about it, but in succeeding issues actually carried articles in Esperanto, albeit, with English translations. This did not last long, but the Fellowship remains today.

Forwarded by RGHF Senior Historian Basil Lewis, UK, 15 May 2007

 

Esperanto Fellowship of Rotarians

 

R.A.D.E. (Rotaria Amikaro De Esperanto)

 A short History of R.A.D.E.

 

The first Fellowship of Rotary International (1928)

 

 

    The  Global Networking Group R.A.D.E., consisting of Rotarians who use the international neutral language Esperanto, aims to realize Rotary International's objectives of promoting mutual Understanding, Goodwill, Friendship and Peace among nations; fostering high ethical standards, facilitating personal contacts among Rotarians with different linguistic backgrounds and promoting  the humanitarian international services of R.I.

 

But what is Esperanto?  It is a proposed second easy-to-learn language to be used by people, beside the mother tongue, all over the world without any distinction.

 

It has no exceptions to the rules as do the national languages, because it would not be able to fulfill its role as a second language if it were difficult to learn.  As Esperanto belongs to no one people but to all, consequently it is free from nationalistic concerns.

 

However, why Rotarians began to use Esperanto in their international contacts? It happened in the twenties, when the Rotarians in France and those in Britain wanted to work together for "PEACE AND UNDERSTANDING", but some wanted all to speak English and some wanted all to speak French, and neither group wanted to cede its cultural identity to the other.

 

The result was the decision to create in 1928 the RADE Fellowship to promote the use of Esperanto among Rotarians with different linguistic backgrounds.

 

They had the vision that in the future of Rotary, the educational and humanitarian partnerships, Group Study Exchanges, volunteer programs, seminars, institutes and conventions would eliminate their communication problems by the use of Esperanto!

 

   What does that indicate?  It shows that our Four-Way Test does not permit us to give advantages only to one nation.   Rather we have to be "just and fair to everyone, to provide solutions of goodwill and better friendship."  Therefore, RI uses officially twelve languages, and the tendency is not to lessen the number of languages but to increase it.  That means increase of extremely high translation costs.

In the second Century of Rotary, our Fellowship encourages the advancement of a desirable globalization, using a neutral second language, and so protecting the richness of cultural and linguistic diversity, trying to avoid a worldwide low-level mediocrity.

 

THE HISTORY OF R.A.D.E.

 

1928 - After three years of preliminary preparation by Esperanto speaking Rotarians in Britain and France, on the 21st of March "Rotaria Esperanto-Amikaro," the first Fellowship to be registered in R.I., was founded in London. The President was Rotarian J.J.Boutwood of Hastings, and the Secretary-Treasurer was Douglas Boatman of Southend-on-Sea.

 

   In August, a preparatory meeting of the Fellowship was held in Antwerp, Belgium. On December 15, the first issue of “Mondamikeco" ("World Friendship"), the duplicated bulletin of the Fellowship of Rotarians, was published. In the December issue of "The Rotary Wheel", then the official organ of  R.I.B.I., an article "A tongue for humanity" supportive of Esperanto appeared.

 

 1929 - The first annual meeting of the Fellowship was held in Paris. Twenty-six members from five countries (Britain, France, Germany, Spain, and the U.S.A.) participated.  During the annual meeting of R.I.B.I. a resolution in support of Esperanto was approved.

 

1930 - In the official organ "The Rotarian" appeared an article by Karl von Frenckell favorable to Esperanto.

 

   The annual meeting of the Fellowship occurred in Oxford because of a requirement that offices had to be moved to a new country every other year.  Georgies Warnier (Paris) was elected President and Gabriel Havet (Lille) was elected to be Secretary.

 

  After a favorable report by Charles Mander, it was proposed in The Hague, Netherlands, that next year's congress in Vienna consider the possibility of encouraging the use of Esperanto in the framework of the general work-plan of Rotary.   

 

1931 - In the 7th number of “Mondamikeco" ("World Friendship"), published in printed form in Paris, there appeared a list of 35 members from 9 countries, including Maurice Duperrey, in Paris, and subsequently President of R.I. in 1937-38.  In that same period the British Rotarian Sydney W. Pascall, President of R.I. 1931-32, also became a member of the Esperanto Fellowship.

 

   The Rotary Commission of the World Congress in Vienna, Austria, in accord with a proposal by Sir Charles Mander, accepted a resolution supportive of Esperanto, according to which the Central Committee of Rotary would examine the language problem and its solution using Esperanto.

 

   The Central Committee of Rotary, having convened in Zurich on the 16th and 17th of September 1931, accepted a motion recognizing that "The International Language is an essential factor for mutual understanding and global friendship.  Among the existing auxiliary languages, Esperanto is the most practical because of its simplicity, the ease of learning it, its relatively abundant literature, and its widespread use by its supporters throughout the whole world."

 

1932 - The representatives of 2,021 Clubs from 57 countries met during the Rotary World Congress in Boston and accepted a resolution requesting a definite decision, whether Esperanto or another language will be used in order to facilitate relations among Rotarians, and establishing a plan for the teaching of the elected language.

 

   The Rotary Club of Paris, working cooperatively with other clubs, established in Switzerland a camp for young people in which Esperanto was used as a means of communication.

 

   The membership of the Esperanto Fellowship grew to 46 members during the annual meeting, which was held in Cologne, Germany.

 Because of the attitude of the new Hitlerian regime, the offices have been moved to the Netherlands.  Dr. Meilhuisen of Arnhem became President.

 

1935 - A meeting of Rotarian Esperantists occurred during the 26th British Congress of Esperanto in Southend-on-Sea.

 

1935 - 1944 - Rotary and Esperanto were prohibited or severely opposed in many European countries.  During World War II, contacts between one country and another became almost impossible.  The Rotarian Esperanto Fellowship disappeared, but some members preserved the ideal.

 

 1945 - The Rotary Club of Guararapes (Brazil) included in its work-plan the spreading of Esperanto.

 

1949 - The Rotary Club of Te Awamutu in New-Zealand at the initiative of local industrialist A.J. Sinclair published a booklet in Esperanto concerning the aims of Rotary as well as two booklets in English about the promoting of Esperanto.

 

   In the introduction of those booklets, the President of that Club, Philip Quick, wrote:  "The Commission for external relations of our Club established friendly relations overseas with hundreds of persons who do not know the English language.  That required the use of Esperanto. During 1949, more than 1000 letters arrived from 48 countries.    

 

1955 - On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Rotary, Dr. H.B. Tiner, President of Pepperdine College and ex-Governor of his District, wrote:

 

  A main aim of Rotary during the coming 50 years will be the expansion of good relations among the people of the whole world, principally by means of the exchange of ideas, of cultural values, and the drive to abolish illiteracy.  No other association is more international than Rotary, and we are capable of overcoming religious, cultural, and economic barriers as we strive to advance international good-will, understanding, and Peace.  Because Rotary has such aims, it fully deserves success: but who does not see that Esperanto is the ideal means for realizing them!

 1959 - The Esperantist Rotarian Norman Williams reestablished the association and gave it the new name "Rotaria Amikaro De Esperanto" or "RADE." (In Esperanto, the term "rade" has the very appropriate meaning "by means of the wheel.")  Following him as President was Graham Leon-Smith, a university professor from Egham (Britain).

 

1963 - The French architect Marcel Génermont, Past President of the Rotary Club in Moulins sur-Allier, launched a campaign for the teaching of Esperanto and invited the other French clubs to sign a supportive petition addressed to the school authorities.

 

  1979 - At the invitation of President Graham Leon-Smith, Marc Levin, chief editor of the French Rotarian magazine “Le Rotarien" and official representative of R.I. to UNESCO in Paris, became Secretary of RADE.

 The magazine “Le Rotarien” published a large service in 20 pages about the advantages in international communication when using Esperanto worldwide as a second language.

 

 1994 - The first issue of the RADE newsletter was published and distributed to fifty Esperantists in 16 countries.  It contained an invitation to nominate candidates for the election of a new board of directors.

 

1996 - On the 12th of December there occurred in Nagasaki, Japan, "A Meeting for the Coming Generations," organized by R.I. and the Governor of District 2740, a member of RADE, Isamu Ito intervened in the debate concerning "International Mutual Understanding and Exchange" to call attention to Esperanto and the activity of RADE.

 

 1997 - In number four of the RADE newsletter appeared the greeting of the newly elected President Eskil Svane, a Danish diplomat and a member of the Rotary Club in Pezenas (France). Secretary Marc Levin continued in that position.  The membership of RADE totaled 63 from 18 different countries.

 

1998 - Rotarians from five countries attended the annual meeting of RADE, convened within the framework of the 83rd "Universala Kongreso de Esperanto" in Montpellier (France).

 

 1999 - RADE newsletter number 6 reported about the activity of our members in Italy, Lithuania, and Egypt.

 

   President Eskil Svane visited the Rotary Club Alto Paraíso, district 4530, (Brazil) and lectured in Esperanto.

 

   The annual meeting of RADE was held in the framework of the 84th "Universala Kongreso de Esperanto" in Berlin.  Some of our members visited two Rotary Clubs in that city, informing them about the Congress of Esperanto.

 

 2000 - RADE newsletter number 7 reported about our annual meeting in the framework of the 85th "Universala Kongreso de Esperanto" in Tel Aviv (Israel), where some of our members visited the Rotary Club of Tel Aviv/Jeff and discussed Esperanto and the Congress.

   In the same newsletter reports from our members in Italy, Samoa, and Brazil appeared. In October, our President Eskil Svane visited new Rotary Clubs in Slovakia, in the two cities of Zilina and Banskà-Bystrica.

 

 2001 - In the January number of the magazine "Brasil Rotário" appeared a three-page illustrated article "Esperanto, a language without national boundaries" by our President Eskil Svane.  It was translated from an article with the same title in the French “Le Rotarien".  In the April issue of “Brasil Rotário" appeared a full-page article by Ursula Grattapaglia, who wrote among other things “Esperanto is the one and only language for international communication which conforms to Rotary's Criteria of the Four Way Test."

 

   In November, "Rotary World" published a letter from Eskil Svane, which emphasized that RADE, established in 1928, was the oldest of all Rotary Fellowships.

   In March, during the Latin-American Conference on Population and Evolution, organized in Brasilia under the auspices of R.I. and the United Nations, our member Ursula Grattapaglia, district 4530, was invited to lecture about a successful project in Brazil in the framework of "Education for Self-Sufficiency in Rural Community." It provided a favorable opportunity to mention the role of Esperanto in social actions.

 

   During the 92nd Rotary World Convention in San Antonio (Texas) RADE presented informations in the General Booth for Fellowships, thus establishing many contacts with Rotarians, mainly from non-English-speaking countries.

 

   In RADE newsletter number eight appeared reports from our members Paul Desailly (Australia) and Giuseppe and Ursula Grattapaglia (Brazil) concerning their visits to China and Italy.

 

2002 - RADE staffed a Fellowship Booth during the 93rd Rotary Convention in Barcelona, Spain.

   In addition to that, RADE members were accepted at the UNESCO Club of Barcelona during a friendly meeting with local Esperantists. In Barcelona, the annual meeting of RADE was convened with members attending from many different countries.

 

   In the framework of the 87th Universala Kongreso de Esperanto in Fortaleza (Brazil), eight members of RADE and the President of Rotaract from Guarapari (D. 4410) visited Rotary Clubs from the host city to present information about Esperanto and the congress.

 

   Number 10 of the RADE newsletter mentioned the decision of our Fellowship to invite some Districts to present a Resolution Proposal concerning Esperanto during the Council on Legislation in 2004.

   The same newsletter published a call from our member Marco Kappenberg, Isle of Samoa, President of the new Rotarian Environment Fellowship, to join with that group. Esperanto can be considered as an “Ecological language” as it protects the national cultures from an erroneous globalization.

 

2003 - RADE set up an information booth during the 94th World Convention of Rotary in Brisbane (Australia).  The booth has been staffed by RADE members from Australia, Brazil, Britain and Samoa, demonstrating an example of the full mutual understanding among Rotarians of different language backgrounds.

   The periodical "Rotary World" in its May issue celebrated the 75th anniversary of the founding of RADE, the first Rotarian Fellowship, clearly manifesting the advantages of Esperanto as a fair, neutral, and easily learned instrument of communication.

 

    President Eskil Svane published an article about the collaboration of Esperanto organizations with service clubs such as Rotary, which was published in the French magazine "Le Monde de l´Esperanto" and in Esperanto in the monthly magazine of UEA (Universala Esperanto Asocio) in the Netherlands.

 

    Among the international visits and contacts by our members, of particular note was the trip by President Eskil Svane (visits to the Mid-Isle Rotary Club on the Caribbean Island of St. Martin and to the Rotary Club of El-Jadida, Morocco) and the visit by Giuseppe and Ursula Grattapaglia to the Clubs of Krakow (Poland), of Warstein-Meschede (Germany), and of Ancona (Italy).

 

   Issue 11 of the RADE newsletter published the official text of the Resolution Proposal about Esperanto presented by Brazilian Districts 4410 and 4530 for discussion at the Council on Legislation of R.I. in 2004.

 

 2004 - Issue 12 of the RADE newsletter published the news that Proposal 04-265 requesting that the Rotary Board of Directors consider the gradual introduction of Esperanto in Rotary Clubs throughout the world, which was presented by the Rotary Clubs of Alto Paraíso (Brazil) and Vitória Praia de Camburí (Brazil), was not accepted by the Council on Legislation of R.I., as only 61 districts voted favorably.

   Again RADE set up an information booth during the 95th World Convention of Rotary in Osaka (Japan), awakening a noteworthy interest on the part of Japanese Rotarians.

   Ursula Grattapaglia lectured in Esperanto at the Toyonaka Rotary Club, with a translation into Japanese by RADE member Eizo Otsuka.

    In April District 1780 (the eastern part of France) invited representatives of the Rotary Fellowships to have information booths at its annual conference.  Our Secretary Marc Levin represented RADE.

 

   At the end of July, a group of seven members of RADE participated in the 89th "Universala Kongreso de Esperanto" in Beijing, China.  On that occasion, they visited the provisional Rotary Club of Beijing where Ursula Grattapaglia lectured about Esperanto and the Congress. On the way to Beijing, our members were guests of the Rotary Club in Hong Kong.

 

  2005 – Just becoming  a tradition, RADE set up an information booth during the Convention of Rotary International in Chicago.  Esperanto speaking Rotarians rotated in staffing the booth, and informed thousands of convention goers about the idea of a better communication by a neutral language.  Because of that, new Rotarians joined our Fellowship, so that now our total membership exceeds 100 from 31 different countries.

  In the so-called "Time Capsule" of the Chicago Convention, the President of the Rotary Club of Alto Paraíso (Brazil) deposited a message in Esperanto, which will be read--one hundred years from now!

An important event of RADE-members occurred in Lithuania, Vilnius, on occasion of the Esperanto World Congress in that country in august 2005.

    Number 15 of the RADE newsletter published a ballot for the election of a new RADE board.

 

2006 - Number 16 of the RADE newsletter made public the results of the balloting for the new leadership:

   Honorary Chairman: Eskil Svane – RC Locarno, (D1980) Switzerland;

   Chairman: Marc Levin - RC Lyon (D.1710) France;

   Secretary -Giuseppe Grattapaglia - RC Alto Paraíso (D.4530) Brazil;

   Board members: Steve Pitney - RC Richmond (D.9800) Australia;

                       Eizo Otsuka - RC Toyonaka (D.2660) Japan;    

                       Antanas Gvildys- R Jubarkas (D.1460) Lithuania.

 

   The same issue of the newsletter published the Proposal of a new Resolution about Esperanto presented by the Rotary Club Alto Paraíso (D.4530), which was approved by the District Conference and forwarded to R.I. for discussion during the next Council on Legislation.

A Matching Grant for Brazilian disabled teenagers was concluded with the collaboration of RADE members from Australia, Brazil and The Rotary Foundation.

 

2007  Two more newsletters (17 and 18) have been distributed by e-mail to our members. During the Salt Lake City  Convention of Rotary International, the RADE members staffed again the Fellowship booth. During this Convention, RADE members decided to cooperate for a Matching Grant in Brazil in partnership with members in Belgium, France and England and TRF.  The correspondence between the districts occurred in Esperanto in both Humanitarian Projects. Friendship visits between clubs have been organized in Belgium and in Brazil.

 In April 2007, the Council on Legislation refused once more the recommendation to introduce gradually the use of a neutral language in our 33.000 clubs with hundred different languages, but did not hesitate to add Russian and Hindi to the number of official languages in R.I.

 

Conclusion

 

Our Fellowship is aware, that the vision of RI for worldwide Understanding and Peace is still an Utopia.

We still do not have one common language, (but twelve) in which we could communicate with our fellow Rotarians who speak Russian or Arabic, Chinese or Hungarian, Finnish or Korean, French or Polish.

 However, the tremendous technological progress in communication and transportation calls for a solution with the greatest urgency!

   Our great PPRI PAULO VIRIATO, before leaving us, wrote in the BRASIL ROTÁRIO magazine: "We Rotarians need a common language, a type of Rotarenglish."

 

   No longer is it an acceptable solution to use, as we presently do, a NATIONAL language as an INTERNATIONAL one.

  The PPRI Ravizza, during his leadership said:  "ROTARY HAS TO BE AHEAD OF THE FACTS AND NOT JUST RUN BEHIND THEM".

 

   Given this situation, what is the task of Rotary International in the context of the global language problem?

 We need to take account of how the world has changed.  Rotary was born 100 years ago. In what kind of language did the first Rotarians speak with Paul Harris in 1905?  Everyone knows that it was the North-American language, one of the 37 official varieties of the English language from England.

  However, today the situation is very different.  We have Rotarians in 200 countries with more than 100 different languages.

 

   We Rotarians are preparing the future.  The quality of that future depends on what we think, say, and do today!

 Are we, both as an organization and as individuals, going to address the world language problem?

 Our Fellowship RADE tries to do its best in creating awareness and taking action -

                                                                                             As we have “to lead the way”!

 

The Secretary of RADE

Giuseppe Grattapaglia

RC Alto Paraiso D.4530

Brazil

 

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