OAK BROOK, IL USA, March 14, 2011 – Raj Phairembam, an 11-year-old boy from Manipur, India, will be recognized at Lions Day with the United Nations in New York City for winning this year’s grand prize in the Lions International Peace Poster Contest. At the event on Friday, March 18, 2011, Phairembam will receive an award and US$5,000. His parents and the president of the Moirang Lions Club, which sponsored the contest at his school, will accompany him to the award ceremony.
Phairembam said when he found out he won, he was overwhelmed with disbelief and excitement.
“We live in different continents but our feelings are the same. We want to be where there is peace. We don’t want to be where there is violence and war,” said Phairembam. “We want a kingdom of peace where love prevails and where we can enjoy the freedom to play fearlessly with our friends – be it an American, an African, a European, an Australian or an Asian.”
An estimated 350,000 children, ages 11, 12 and 13 in 70 countries around the world, participated in this year’s contest. His poster was chosen for its originality, artistic merit and portrayal of this year’s contest theme, "Vision of Peace."
Lions Clubs International President Sid L. Scruggs III said, “I commend Raj and all these young people for sharing their personal visions of peace with the world around them. They are truly beacons of hope for us all.”
Lions created the Peace Poster Contest to foster a spirit of peace and international understanding in young people worldwide.
“It is a proud moment for us and our young boy Raj, who has become grand prize winner of the Peace Poster Contest,” said Animesh Baruah, the Lions district governor who oversees Lions clubs in northeastern India, including the sponsoring club of Moirang.”
In addition to the grand prize winner, 23 merit award winners have been announced. This year’s merit winners are from Argentina, Canada, China, India, Indonesia, Italy, Korea, Malta, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, New Zealand, Spain, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, the United States (California, Florida, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Virginia) and Uruguay. The merit winners will each receive US$500 and a certificate of achievement.
After being exhibited at the 94th annual Lions Clubs International Convention in Seattle, Washington, USA, this July, the 24 winning Peace Posters will be shown throughout the year at children’s museums and various locations throughout the United States. The posters will also be featured on the Lions Clubs International Web site, www.lionsclubs.org, where visitors can learn more about the contest and send Peace Poster e-cards.
Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organization with 1.35 million members in more than 46,000 clubs in 207 countries and geographic areas around the world. Since 1917, Lions clubs have aided the blind and visually impaired and made a strong commitment to community service and serving youth throughout the world. For more information about Lions Clubs International, visit www.lionsclubs.org.