Melitta J. Cutright
Background on 93rd Lions Clubs International Convention in
Sydney, Australia June 28-July 2
Lions Clubs International – Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organization, with 1.35 million members in more than 46,000 clubs in 206 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 or early July of each year, 15,000-20,000 Lions club members and their families from more than 100 countries gather for the Lions Clubs International Convention. For five days, Lions conduct association business, share fellowship and enjoy the sights of an international city. The Lions Clubs International Convention is one of the largest annual conventions of its kind in the world.
Convention Highlights – Among this year’s highlights will be:
A spectacular Parade of Nations with 10,000 Lions from 100 countries, many in native dress, along with bands and colorful floats. The parade will step off at 11:00 on Tuesday, June 29 and march north on Macquarie Street from the intersection of College, Prince Albert and St. Mary roads.
A keynote address by Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger III, the U.S. pilot who made an emergency landing on the Hudson River in New York, saving 155 passengers and crew, at 9:15 on Friday, July 2 in the Sydney Entertainment Centre.
Presentation of the 2010 Lions Humanitarian Award to Wangari Maathai, an internationally known environmental, peace, human rights and democracy activist from Kenya and the winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize at 9:00 on Thursday, July 1 in the Sydney Entertainment Centre.
Selection of the first winner of the Lions Clubs International Global Youth Music Competition at 19:30 on Wednesday, June 30 in Bayside Auditorium B of the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre. Ten young people from around the world will compete on the violin.
A colorful flag ceremony with the flags of Lions nations from around the world at 11:45 on Wednesday, June 30 in the Sydney Entertainment Centre.
Second Convention in Australia – Lions Clubs International held one of its most popular conventions in 1991 in Brisbane, Australia.
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.
Lions Headquarters – Lions Clubs International staff members, headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois, USA, handle arrangements for convention events, housing, outside suppliers and exhibitors. More than 100 headquarters staff work 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 and building or maintain community parks.
Supporting diabetes education, providing hearing screenings, assisting the aged.
Providing relief in time of emergency or disaster such as after the Haiti earthquake and the Australian wildfires.
Lions Clubs in Australia – Lions clubs have a very strong presence in Australia, with nearly 1,300 clubs and 27,500 Lions throughout the country. Australian Lions are involved in hands-on service in a variety of areas including providing disaster relief in the Victoria bushfires, protecting the environment, improving health, assisting youth and establishing many other community services. For information about Lions clubs in Australia, see www.lionsclubs.org.au.
Host Committee – Lions volunteers from Australia 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
2011 – Seattle, USA
2012 – Busan, Korea
2013 – Hamburg, Germany
2014 – Toronto, Canada
2015 – Honolulu, USA
Attention media: Media passes will be available from the Convention Operations Office, Exhibit Hall 1 Foyer, Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre. For more information about convention events, visit the Online Convention.