Rotary in Poland
Rotary in Poland started with the first club in Warsaw in 1931, then with eight more clubs, the Polish district No 85 was established in 1936.
After a 50-year gap caused by the Second World War and the Communist regime, Rotary returned along with democracy in 1989. At first, Poland was a Special Extension Area of the Swedish district under the supervision of PDG Gunnar Fjellender, who helped to develop the Rotary movement.
Eventually, in 1997, Poland became the first independent district in any of the post-communist countries. Bogdan Kurowski from RC Olsztyn hold the position of the Governor over 47 clubs.
The inauguration ceremony of RI District 2230 took place on the 28th June 1997 at the Academy of Music in Warsaw. Hundreds of participants together with RI President Elect James C. Lacy attended this event.
In 1999, clubs from Ukraine and Belarus, previously belonging to the French District 1680, joined the District 2230. Rotarians from the North of France with our unforgettable friend Marcel Stefanski helped to establish Rotary clubs in South-Eastern Poland and financed the majority of charitable projects.
The first Governor of the three-country District was Ryszard Kaszuba-Krzepicki from RC Gdansk-Sopot-Gdynia, while Barbara Pawlisz from RC Sopot International was the last one. There was a rule to select a Ukrainian Governor every third year, which was generally obeyed.
Over the years the growing number of clubs and Rotarians and the multinational District became too large for the governor to effectively perform its function. Two attempts to divide D-2230 in 2008 and 2009 failed due to insufficient number of Rotarians in Ukraine and Belarus. The decision to divide District 2230 into two: 2231 Poland and 2232 Ukraine and Belarus was taken in 2013 and was executed in 2016.
The main strengths of the Polish Rotary are humanitarian projects, long term youth exchanges and other projects for young people such as NGSE or RYLA.
The idea of Inter-Country Committees fostering contacts between countries is also popular as there are 13 such committees in Poland. PDG Andrzej Ludek held a position of Chair of Inter-Country Committees Executive Council in 2016-2018.
Strong links between Polish and Ukrainian clubs led to organizing summer holidays for Ukrainian children, whose families were affected by war in years 2015-2019.
There are 83 Rotary clubs with 1737 Rotarians, 18 Rotaract and 11 Interact clubs in Poland and great opportunities for further development. The ratio of female Rotarians is over 20%.