Historic Moments -- Memorable councils
Delegates line up to speak during the 1989 Council on Legislation in Signapore. Rotary Images
T he Council on Legislation meets every three years, but no two councils are quite the same.
From the amount of legislation to the delegates who attend, each Council is different from its predecessors. Sometimes a Council stands out for reasons that have nothing to do with proposed legislation.
In the 76-year existence of the Council, Rotary International has only once had to postpone a meeting of the legislative body. Toward the end of World War II, U.S. government restrictions on the number of people who could assemble forced RI to hold the 1945 convention during four different sessions a week apart, making it impossible to reach the quorum that would allow for voting on proposed legislation. At that time, the Council was still convened as a plenary session at the convention.
The 1950 Council is notable as the one that adopted a resolution providing that ‘Service Above Self’ and ‘He Profits Most Who Serves Best’ be designated as Rotary mottoes.
The 1989 Council on Legislation vote to admit women into Rotary clubs worldwide remains a watershed moment in the history of Rotary. It followed a decades-long effort from all over the Rotary world to allow for the admission of women, including several close votes at previous Council meetings.
Venezuelan President Rafael Caldera attended the opening session of the 1995 Council, held in Caracas. Past RI Director Anthony de St. Dalmas, who attended as a delegate, recalls the president entering the Council chamber accompanied by an armed guard and a band.
The 2001 Council is often noted for the amount of legislation received – more than 1,000 proposals – with over 600 being published and considered by the delegates.
See previous Historic Moments on the Council: