Melitta J. Cutright
BACKGROUND ON 95th LIONS CLUBS INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION IN BUSAN, KOREA JUNE 22-26
Lions Clubs International – Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organization, with more than 1.35 million members in more than 46,000 clubs in 207 countries and geographic areas. In addition to its efforts toward conquering blindness, the organization has made a strong commitment to community service and helping youth throughout the world. To learn more about Lions Clubs International, visit www.lionsclubs.org.
Lions Clubs International Convention – In late June, more than 50,000 Lions club members and their families from more than 100 countries will gather in Busan for the Lions Clubs International Convention.
For five days, Lions will conduct association business, share fellowship and enjoy the sights of this international city. The Lions Clubs International Convention is one of the largest annual conventions of its kind in the world.
Impact of Convention in Busan – This is the first time that Lions Clubs International will hold its popular convention in Busan and the second time it will hold a convention in Korea. This will be the largest international event ever held in Busan. Lions usually do more sightseeing, stay longer and bring more family members than most business conventioneers.
Convention Highlights – Among this year’s highlights will be:
- A spectacular Parade of Nations with 15,000 Lions from 100 countries, many in native dress, along with bands and colorful floats. The parade will step off at 10:00 on Saturday, June 23 and march from the back gate of Busan (Suyeong) Yachting Range Court to Tiffany 21 Ferry Terminal. The parade route is approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) long.
- A keynote address by Margaret Chan, MD on Monday, June 25. Dr. Chan is director-general of the World Health Organization.
- Recognition of the young winners of the 24th Lions International Peace Poster Contest and the Children Know Peace Essay Contest for blind and visually impaired students on Sunday, June 24.
- A colorful flag ceremony with the flags of Lions nations from around the world on Sunday, June 24.
- Presentation of the 2012 Lions Humanitarian Award, the highest honor of the association, on Monday, June 25. The award includes a US$250,000 grant from Lions Clubs International Foundation for continuing humanitarian activities. Previous recipients include former U. S. President Jimmy Carter and Mother Teresa.
- Election of Wayne A. Madden of Auburn, Indiana, USA as the 2012-2013 Lions Clubs International president on Tuesday, June 26.
Convention Selection – The Lions Clubs International Board of Directors selects convention sites from around the world five years in advance, following an extensive bidding process. During the evaluation, tourist authorities present options for accommodating the convention and the large number of attendees and explain why their cities are attractive destinations.
Lions Clubs International looks for areas with a strong tradition of Lions volunteerism. Local Lions club members demonstrate their commitment by forming a Lions Host Committee. Busan was selected to host the 2012 convention in 2007.
Lions Headquarters – Lions Clubs International staff members, headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois, USA handle arrangements for convention events, housing, outside suppliers and exhibitors. Around 100 headquarters staff works at the convention.
Lions Around the World – Lions are men and women who volunteer their time for humanitarian causes. Lions clubs evaluate community needs and choose service projects to meet those needs, including:
- Collecting and recycling used eyeglasses and supporting eye screenings and cataract surgeries.
- Sponsoring programs for young people, including youth groups called Leo clubs, and providing scholarships and recreational opportunities.
- Improving the environment, planting trees and building or maintaining community parks.
- Supporting diabetes education, providing hearing screenings and assisting the aged.
- Providing relief in time of emergency or disaster such as after the Japan and China earthquakes and the Pakistan floods.
Lions Clubs in Korea – Lions clubs have a very strong presence in Korea with more than 2,100 clubs and more than 85,000 Lions members. Local Lions are involved in hands-on service in a variety of areas including protecting the environment, improving health, assisting youth and establishing many other community services.
Host Committee – Lions volunteers from Busan and throughout Korea have spent several years preparing for the convention. They are responsible for hospitality, including staffing welcome centers, arranging welcoming banners, securing local marching bands for the parade and serving as sergeants-at-arms for major events.
Upcoming Lions Clubs International Conventions
- Hamburg, Germany: 2013
- Toronto, Canada: 2014
- Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: 2015
- Fukuoka, Japan: 2016
- Chicago, Illinois, USA: 2017
Attention media: Media passes for events will be available from the Convention Operations Office, at N 101 BEXCO. All events at BEXCO are closed to the general public. For more information about convention events, visit the Online Convention.
Lions Clubs International
300 W. 22nd Street, Oak Brook, IL 60523-8842