Professor Joao Fernando Sobral, of Sao Paulo, Brazil, was elected president of The International Association of Lions Clubs at its 59th annual convention held in June, 1976, in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. He was the first Brazilian to have served as international president.
Professor Sobral, a nationally known economist, is a business administrator and retired university professor in Brazil. His own firm is a leading manufacturer of thermal products, plastics, glass and sheet metal items.
A Lion since 1960, Professor Sobral served as district governor and as an international director from 1969-71.
For his many contributions to the association, Professor Sobral has received awards including 25 International President's Awards, and the Ambassador of Good Will Award, the highest honor the association gives its members. He is also a Progressive Melvin Jones Fellow. He was elected the Life Honorary Chairperson of FOLAC, the Latin America and Caribbean Forum.
Brazilian activities initiated during Professor Sobral's presidency include the construction of an orphanage and the obtainment of free medical service, hospital care, and blood donations for the child heart surgery patients in Brazil. He was the first chairperson of SightFirst in Brazil and he has trained Lions throughout Latin America in SightFirst work.
In addition to his work as a Lion, Professor Sobral served on the Brazilian Federal Reserve Board, Banking Committee and as a special advisor to the Minister of Mines and Energy. He also held positions as chairperson, president and director of several public and private corporations.