Policy Statement on International Relations
Basis for International Relations
Programs encouraging international understanding and cooperation have as their basis the belief that people, despite differences in racial or cultural heritages, are valued variants of a common humanity. International relations constitute an acceptance of, and appeal to, that sense of universal values and human brotherhood whereby each individual, in working for mankind's common destiny, gives meaning to his own existence.
Why Lions are Involved
To every Lion dedicated to the motto "We Serve," the concept of "community" takes on new and greater dimensions. Because of the world-wide scope of the organization represented in the very name Lions Clubs International – the community of Lionism extends to include districts, nations and the international community of mankind. Community services and international services are both offsprings of the same motivation. International relations between the members of the family of man, and particularly within the family of Lionism, involve the awareness and acceptance of the component elements of a World Community, and positive action to advance international understanding and cooperation.
Through its member clubs world-wide, Lionism has always encouraged and fostered international understanding and cooperation among people as a basis for peace among nations. The real meaning of Lionism exists not in the number of clubs or in the number of countries in which Lionism operates, but in the goal – service to mankind. The motto "We Serve" has no conditions: concern, love, humanitarian service cannot be limited.
Implementation of International Relations
If Lions are successfully to implement international relations programs, they must first of all, appreciate the vast differences that make up humanity. Lions accept the fact that a vast majority of people live different lives under different circumstances from their own. To fully appreciate the role that Lions can play in international understanding and cooperation and enhancing the quality of life for mankind, Lions must be knowledgeable of those differences.
Through personal experience and by working with fellow Lions in international projects, Lions will come to understand and appreciate the cultures and values of other people. Mutual acceptance and help can be achieved through working together to build good will. The international character of the international convention typifies the kind of atmosphere in which genuine interest and communication are possible between a variety of people. Such communication is made possible on a continuing basis through the organizational structure of Lionism.
We read the appalling statistics of human needs, but we do not truly understand – and we are not ready for effective action – until we become compassionately aware of the character and needs, the joys and sufferings, of individual human beings in other lands. Programs of economic and technical assistance are needed; but we must also extend the human quality of friendship to others. Ideally, when one sees himself in others, the experience transforms the vision of the world and creates a lifestyle in which international understanding and cooperation permeate one's personal activities. Lions have a variety of opportunities within which the following avenues can be explored: youth exchange, youth camps, twinning, amateur radio communications, friendship contacts, assistance projects, cultural activities, educational services, international services, and the humanitarian endeavors of the Lions Clubs International Foundation.
Yet, even while communicating with and actively aiding the needy of the world, Lions must not overlook neighbors who need help. Service to those both near and far is what successful community action is all about. Very often a deeper sense of interest in one's own community is generated by involvement in international relations programs.
Considered alone, a single project of a single community may seem of minor significance; but when added to the projects of hundreds of communities and millions of people working together, the sum total reflects the magnitude of the program's significance as an instrument for international goodwill and peace.
Be it resolved, therefore, that Lions Clubs International, aware of man's interdependence in the world community, sensitive to existing world needs, and conscious of this great potential as an effective instrument for the achievement of International Understanding and Cooperation, reaffirms the commitment each individual member and Lions club should have to foster international relations as expressed in the First Object of Lionism: "To create and foster a spirit of understanding among the peoples of the World."
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