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News Release


Melitta J. Cutright
Brett Rush


OAK BROOK, Illinois, USA, June 1, 2009 – Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell will speak to more than 15,000 members of Lions Clubs International (LCI) and their families in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, as part of the association’s 92nd Lions Clubs International Convention. Convention events will be held Monday, July 6, through Friday, July 10, at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Presiding over the convention will be 2008-2009 International President Albert F. Brandel, of Melville, New York, USA. President Brandel has led the association through a year of notable achievements, including disaster relief efforts in the aftermath of the earthquake in China and severe flooding in the Midwestern U.S. Brandel also organized the Sight Partners and Youth Partners Forums at Lions Clubs International Headquarters in Oak Brook Illinois, at which more than 50 experts and leaders from vision and youth-related organizations, including the World Health Organization, Merck and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation discussed ways to work together to help young people and people with vision impairments.

Lions clubs expanded their global effort over the past 92 years. Currently the association has more than 1.35 million members in 206 countries and geographic areas who are dedicated to improving their communities and the world.


Highlights of the convention will include:

  • A spectacular Parade of Nations, beginning at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, July 7. An estimated 10,000 Lions from 100 countries, many in native dress, will march along with floats and 20 marching bands down Nicolette Mall from 3rd Street to 13th Street.
  • A keynote address on the importance and value of volunteerism from former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. Powell, a two-time recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, is also the founder of America’s Promise, a foundation dedicated to helping youth.
  • Presentation of the 2009 Lions Humanitarian Award to Australian youth activist Father Chris Riley, founder and CEO of Youth Off the Streets, in recognition of his efforts to help homeless and troubled youth. The award includes a grant of US$200,000 for continuing humanitarian work.
  • Election of the 2009-2010 Lions Clubs International President, Eberhard Wirfs, of Kelkheim, Germany, on Friday, July 10. Wirfs will be the first German citizen to serve as international president.


Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organization. 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

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