Rotary Youth Exchange

Through the Years

A look back at the history
of Rotary Youth Exchange

Officially Recognized By Rotary International

Exchange Students 2018-19

Host Families (Rotary member & nonmember)

Participating Rotary Clubs

Countries and Territories


An Idea is Born

  • A Rotarian in France writes to Rotary International and proposes an international youth exchange between children of Rotarians.

Proposed by Clubs

  • The March issue of The Rotarian magazine reports on a youth exchange proposed by clubs in Belgium, Denmark, Italy, and Switzerland

US Exchange begins

  • District 107 (formerly Southern California) sets up an exchange with districts in Latin America.


  • European Rotary Youth Exchanges resume after World War II ends

RYE Conference

  • A Rotary Youth Exchange conference in Switzerland generates worldwide interest in the program.

RI Board Conducts Worldwide Survey

  • Rotary’s Board of Directors conducts a survey of youth exchange activities being operated by clubs and districts worldwide

RYE Officially Recognized

  • Rotary Youth Exchange is officially recognized as an activity of Rotary International after being formally adopted at the 1974 Council on Legislation. The decision designates Youth Exchange as a program to be administered at the regional level by Rotary districts and at the local level by Rotary clubs. The program continues to operate this way today and is active in 128 countries and geographical areas. About 9,000 students participate each year.