The biggest LEO/LIONS Party in the World: Chicago LCIC 2017

Have you ever been to a birthday party with over 20.000 participants? Would you like to?

From June 30th to July 4th, 2017, Lions and Leos from all over the world will gather at the Lions Club International Convention in Chicago to celebrate together 100 years of Lionism and 60 years of Leonism.

If, though, taking part to the biggest and most amazing Leo/Lions party in the world is not appealing enough for you, let me give you a few more reasons as of why to take part to an LCIC is going to blow your mind.

My name is Eleonora Fresia and, in my life, I’ve been lucky enough to be able to take part to six International Conventions already.

During the first one, Indianapolis 2001, I was a sort of mascot for the Italian delegation: daughter of an Italian DG and at the tender age of 6, there was nothing else I could be. I can’t say I remember much of that experience, other than trading pins, receiving gifts and playing around the tables during the French Reception. But it was already pretty awesome.

It’s my second one however, Busan 2012, that made me a loyal International Conventioneer.

It was my third year as a LEO and my first time being able to meet international Leos and connect with the whole Lions Community. I remember sitting in the audience during the first plenary session, having a hard time coming to terms with how many people were attending the event: the room was huge and the number of seats was uncountable. The going out President of that year, PIP Wing-Kun Tam, was on stage talking about the service activity he had actively promoted during that year: planting one million trees. I can still see the screen in front of my eyes reaching that fated number and then climbing up at a vertiginous speed, going past the number of 12 million.

Over 12 million trees were planted during that single year, by a little less than one million and a half Lions Club members. That number shocked me: I hadn’t planted a single tree and yet number was so much greater than what seemed feasibly achievable: that instant, is the first time I realized exactly that we – as Leos and Lions – can change the world.

My third Convention, Hamburg 2013, showed me how fun a convention can be. I have not seen a more amazing wave than the one done in a loop by the audience while waiting for the International Show to start and I can’t remember laughing harder than when watching our International Executive Board dancing on the notes of YMCA.

During Toronto 2014 and Honolulu 2015, instead, I got shown the strength of Leos and how amazing it is to be part of the “Leos of the World” Delegation during the parade. The feeling of joy I felt in that moment, giving out flags, high-fives and hugs to total strangers – some Lions and some simple spectators – receiving so much love in return and sharing it with my fellow Leos was simply indescribable. The severe lack of voice due to becoming head chanter during the parade is quite hard to describe as well!

Fukuoka 2016, finally, was the time where I realized that there is nothing more special than finding yourself in the same place as more than 20.000 other people that believe in your same values and are as passionate about them as you are.  Conventions become the place where to make good friends: a special meeting point where to get to see them all, even if you are all from different sides of the world.

Conventions are all about sharing, learning and friendship. Sharing the happiness and joy of reuniting with friends and meeting new ones, of results achieved and of new objectives discovered. It’s a time of learning differences across countries, similarities in values, new service ideas and personal discoveries. It’s about connecting with the world, improving mutual understanding and creating friendships that will last a lifetime.

Every Convention is a unique opportunity, but this one, Chicago 2017, I can’t wait to take part to: A Centennial is something not many get to see and I’m happy I’ll be able to share it with many fellow European Leos. As a matter of fact, the more the merrier is a statement that well fits Conventions: if you want to join us for this incredible event, please know that you are still in time to register and we can’t wait to see you there!






Website link:

By Eleonora Fresia – International Liaison Officer MD 108 ITALY



Lions Day at the United Nations

Lions Day at the United Nations

Lions Club International has the honour to be the only service organization who has a permanent seat at the United Nations. Due to this fact, Lions Club organize each year a day at the United Nations in New York and Geneva where Lions from all over the world are invited to discuss specific topics concerning the united nations goals, such as health, environment, equal rights or education. Here you can have a look at the United Nations sustainable development Goals:

This year the 39th Lions Day at the United Nation was all about health and inclusion and was so far the biggest Lions Day held in the United Nations with over 850 participants, therefore we had the honour for the first time to be at the grand assembly hall in the United Nations in new York. And this year it was special that the panelist for the panel discussion about inclusion and refugees were mostly representatives from Europe. But before coming to the serious part, we also had some fun. The Leo Club program organized a pizza party one night before the United Nations Day to welcome all Leos. In total 150 Leos participated, most of the from the United States but we had the pleasure to have Leo Advisory Panelist Oona Stahle from Finland, International Liaison Officer from the Netherlands Guido Martens and Anna Jacobs and International Liaison Officer Deborah Herlan from Germany onboard. The next day started quite early in the United Nations. After the peace poster winning announcement and an inspiring speech of Special Olympics Chairperson Timothy Shriver, we had the opportunity to listen to the discussion concerning refugees and inclusion. The discussion was moderated by International Director Helmut Marhauer from Germany, on the panel there was the UN representative and Lion from Turkey Tulin Tanrikut, Special Olympic Athlete Mina Emad Fernan Bahgat and his brother Michael and International Liaison Officer Deborah Herlan from Germany.

During the panel discussion we heard the incredible story of Mina who has come in 2009 with his brother and mother as refugees from Egypt to the Netherlands and who has found a purpose in life thanks to Special Olympics. He is doing now ice skating and he won the national Special Olympics in the Netherlands and participated in the world Winter game lately in Austria. See his story here:

Additionally International Liaison Officer Deborah Herlan talked about the different activities European Leos are doing for refugees and mostly about the project to include refugees in Leo Clubs and make them feel welcome. Giving refugees the opportunity to be a part of the Leo Club makes it much easier for them to integrate in the community and helps them to understand and learn each countries’ mentalities. The perfect example sets Javad Ahmadi who came as a refugee from Iran and joined the Leo Club in Nürnberg. He is going to be Club president of his Leo Club next year. Here you can find more information about what Leos are doing for refugees and how amazing the European Leo work is:

It was a pleasure to have so many Leos participated in the Lions Day at United Nations this year and we sincerely hope to continue this way!

Deborah Herlan
International Liaison Officer 2016/17
Multi- Distrikt- Vorstand 2016/2017
Deputy Chairperson of International Liaison Officer Board 2016/17



We need your opinion for the LEO Survey

We need your opinion! In order to get the best overview of the LEO movement in Europe and the Mediterranean area, all Leos are invited to fill in the second LEO Survey. It is very important to hear your thoughts about the LEO movement in your country. It only takes 5 minutes! Please answer the questions in English and do not forget to share it with other LEOs!

The LEO survey is an analysis of the situation of European and Mediterranean Leo clubs. The ILO Council wants to gather data about the LEO clubs in order to increase the general knowledge about the LEO movement. LEOs are invited to share their thoughts on the following subjects: their LEO club, their Leo life experience, Leo – Lions relationship, the ILOs and the future of LEOs. All the information gathered will be summarized into a report that will be made available for all LEOs, LIONS and the general public interested in the movement. By having this survey we hope that we can develop the LEO movement as we will know better what are our strengths and what we need to improve.

The first LEO survey was launched on 16 October 2011 by the ILO Council 2011/12 and later analysed by the ILO Council 2012/13. The survey included five main parts: General questions; Questions about your LEO club; Questions about personal LEO life and experience; Questions about Leo-Lions situation and Questions about international LEO situation.

When the survey was concluded on 2 July 2012, there were more than 500 responses, but only around 300 were completed either due to the survey being too long, technical problems or simply unawareness that the survey continued onto more pages! (hopefully we managed to fix all of that this time) The survey was completed by LEOs from 26 different countries nearly equally representing both genders. Based on the survey, the average LEO was 23.8 years old and had been a member for 4.4 years.

We recommend that you check out the whole analysis of the survey, but to give you a little taste, here’s the ideas some of you wrote in the last survey regarding increasing the LEO spirit and enhancing the member’s motivation:
– Successful activities are the key to member motivation;
– Members should try to get to know each other outside of the formal setting;
– Members should try to engage themselves in the district, multi-district and international movements;
– Organising team-building trainings;
– Attract new members by organising workshops useful also outside of LEO;
– Give new members responsibilities and the freedom to bring forward new ideas;
– More advertising, sharing success stories.

We hope that you will take the 5 minutes and share your valuable views with us because only with your input are we able to build the big picture! Don’t forget to share it!

Madalina Vlasie on behalf of the Lessons Learned team of the ILO Council

Fill in the LEO Survey


See the results of the previous LEO Survey 

LEO Club Crema and LEO Club Nice Comté de Nice twinning during the National Convention of MD 103 France

The 25th of march was a special day for the Leo Club Crema of the District 108 Ib3 Italy and for the Leo Club Nice Comté de Nice in the District R04 Z43 Cote d’Azur Corse.

In fact, they officially signed their international twinning during the event of the Leo National Convention of France.

In this special year, in which occurs the 60th anniversary of Leo Club International, the desire of starting an experience together, even outside the Country borders, gets an even greater importance.

The relationship between the two clubs started last summer when Letizia Vanelli,President of the Leo Club Crema, came to Nice for taking part in one of the local Leos meetings.

Letizia together with the president on Nice, Maya Ketfi, signed their twinning in the special and historical location of the Palais de la Mediterranee, a masterpiece of the architecture of the beginning of the ‘30s, located in the heart of Nice facing the Promenade des Anglais.

The night was enriched by the presence of the Multidistrict French President, Amandine Landeler,with the District President RamziKetfi.

It was also the occasion of exchanging flags, and for getting to know each other through games and dances.


One of the most emotional moment was listening to the Italian and french anthem together:a symbol of the international character of the JDP of this year.

On that special night the members of each clubs-ticked, on their jackets and dresses, the official sticker of the twinning, drawn by the Leo Club Crema’s President.

This special moment for the two Clubs is only the start of a long term relationship that will lead to a sharing of ideas and collaborative services.

By Letizia Vanelli, President of LEO Club Crema


Leo club Helsinki/Itäväylä made a animal activity as part of Leo4Green

As part of European Leo activity Leo4Green our club Leo Club Helsinki/Itäväylä decided to do a one small activity for each team.

In autumn we did activity for water. Our club and some others from Leo club Espoo and Leo club Vantaa gathered up in to the center of Helsinki to collect trash from the shore of the Baltic sea. We collected various trash with in very good spirit. Also raised Leo awareness when people asked a lot of what we are doing and why. As a reward we got clean shore and had a lot of fun with each other’s.


Leo club Helsinki/Itäväylä made a animal activity as part of Leo4Green. We joined as volunteers into a cat house where a lot of an abandoned cats and other small animals are. For several hours we cleaned up homeless cats houses. We also got to play with the cats to get them used to the humans and get their muscles into a better shape. We plan to do this activity in the future as well. Maybe one day some of us will adopt one of them.
Annan luvat muokata tekstiä sekä vapaudet kuviin !

LIONS – Stars of the Silkroad Festival

Dear LEO-Friends,

Lions of District 111-BN (LC Amorbach-Miltenberg) in Germany together with LC Bishkek/Rep. of Kyrgyzstan organise an international Arts Festival “Lions – Stars of the Silkroad” supported by the Lions Euro-Asia Committee and Lions Central and Eastern European Initiativ (CEEI).

The festival will take place from September 2nd to September 12th, 2017, in the Central Asian Republic of Kyrgyzstan, at the magnificent Silkroad-Route. Our objective is, to identify and sponsor young musicians or photographers who are interested in taking part at this event.

We will try to cover the travel costs for the participants by Lions Clubs of their region. We would try to form a world symphonic orchestra of young artists. Musicians will have 4 performances on stage, which are shown on state tv. Photographer will present their artwork in the National Museum of Bishkek. It is already the third time that our friends in Kyrgyzstan organise this festival together with Lions from District 111-BN in Germany. Both festivals in 2013 and 2015 were very successful. Art is a language understood by people all over the world. About 150 young artists from Kyrgyzstan, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Austria and Turkey completed by orchestral musicians from Kyrgyzstan, took part in the first two festivals on the Silkroad and elated the audience with virtuous music performances and impressive exhibitions. Several Lions Clubs enabled the young talents to participate by financing the travel expenses of the artists. “That was the best thing I could do so far.” “I’ve found friends for life.” “I’ve never experienced such hospitality before,” said three participants. The festival has left everlasting impressions. Under the patronage of Kyrgyz President Almasbek Atambaev, the events reached a broad public in the Central Asian country. The opening concert in the State Philharmonic Orchestra had over 1,200 visitors. Television, radio and newspapers reported extensively on all channels, thus spreading the lionistic idea throughout the country. Lions’ awareness is important for supporting social projects, such as the mothers of Uplift. These help to provide a life-long future to orphaned, handicapped and disadvantaged children. They will benefit from a profit of this event. The event “Lions – Stars of the Silkroad” is an exemplary achievement of the most important Lions International objectives. Especially nowadays we must maintain all efforts to spread understanding among people. This festival is a chance to meet people with different cultural backgrounds and to exchange experiences. Geographically, the country in the heart of Central Asia is predestined for a festival of encounters. Even before Christ, the ancient Silk Road brought people from the West and the East together on this old trade route. The two festivals in 2013 and 2015 are a good basis to continue the event in the 2017 Lions jubilee year and to become a lionistic highlight in Central Asia. Our goal is to bring together 100 young artists from Europe and 100 from Asia on the Silk Road to a world youth orchestra. Please help us to make this Centennial Project of Lions Club Bishkek and Lions from District 111- BN a memorable success. Identify young artists (musician, classical, folklore or jazz) in your district or promote the festival by contacting your universities and high-schools for music and make sure, that they will hang out a promotion poster. After we have received the application of a young artist, we will try to find a sponsor to cover the costs in Kyrgyzstan (1200 US-$ plus airfare). They will have 10 days of unforgettable moments and new career prospects, experience tolerance towards other cultures and at the same time help spreading and manifesting the values and objectives of Lions International in Central Asia.

Promote the stay of an artist from your region! More information at: and

We are very happy if you could arrange the display of poster at universities or high-schools for music/arts.

Please send an e-mail with the number of posters needed and your address to

Thank you very much!

Best regards

IPDG Josef Ahmann, District 111-BN

Lions Europa Forum 2016

Lions Europa Forum 2016
Sofia, Bulgaria – 27-30th of October

Lions Europa Forum, an annual event for all European Lions and LEOs, but also with participants from other parts of the world. Two years ago it was in Birmingham (UK), last year in Augsburg (GER) and this year it was in Sofia, Bulgaria. The ILO council was strongly represented together with several other LEOs, which made us a rather big group of 30 LEOs in total – COOL! The ILO council had planned the EF on beforehand, and especially Deborah Herlan, ILO from Germany, had made a big effort to keep all of the LEOs together, both program wise, but also for the accommodation. Most of us stayed at a hostel in the center of Sofia, close to the conference center where the Forum was held. Hostels are always charming and cozy, and this time was no different – we’ll get back to that!

Thursday – Arrival
I arrived at Thursday, where I met in the airport with Madalina and Deborah, both ILOs. We quickly went to the hostel and moved on to the conference center, as we had our first meeting to attend – the Refugee Steering Committee meeting. We had to give our opinion on how LEOs are participating in the effort for helping the refugees. This is also one of the reasons for LEOs and ILOs to participate in Lions events, as we’re able to show our presence in the global Lions Family. Afterwards, the opening ceremony was held. The ceremony is quite amazing, as it starts the whole event and brings everyone together for the first time – it’s a big event with speakers, shows and live music. In the evening, we had a LEO get-together dinner followed by a few beers.

On Friday, we got up early, as our program started a 9 in the morning.
Usually, hostels have a good ratio of bathrooms pr. person, perhaps like one bathroom for three or four persons. Here, we had two bathrooms in total, for over 30 people – and not only where they rather small, they also had a limited amount of hot water. I was lucky though, to be one of the firsts to use the shower in the morning – the worst thing I know is cold showers!
After our breakfast, our first meeting started.

The LEOs are also represented in the program with workshops, hence the Leos with Lions workshops, that lasted the whole day. One of the main topics across these workshops is to engage Lions to be enthusiastic about LEO – of course everybody is enthusiastic about us, it’s just that not everyone is aware of it!
The ILOs had the workshops planned in advance, and different ILOs had different responsibilities. I was lucky to present together with my fellow Italian ILO Eleonora Fresia, who I’m working together with on the European LEO Activity – LEO4Green.

This project is about promoting environmental awareness and activities, and was started in Italy. Eleonora is really passionate about this project, and it’s amazing to work together with such a dedicated person, which also reflects in her when she talks about the project. Our goal for the presentation was to create awareness of the project for the Lions, and to tell them about how LEOs and ILOs are working together, and how this can be used in collaboration between LEOs and Lions as well.

We were finished with our workshops late afternoon. Afterwards, we quickly went home to change for the host evening, but before that, we had been invited to a get-together at Othmar Fetz apartment. Othmar Fetz, LEO from Germany, is doing a really big project about documenting the different sides of being a LEO in different countries – the project is called The LEO Book, and is a quite amazing activity, while he’s also a cool guy to be around.

The host night is a chance for the organizing country to show their local culture, and this year was, as every other year, a great opportunity to experience a new country’s history, culture and traditions. We were served with traditional Bulgarian food, while there was different activities during the evening, such as traditional music, folks-dance and fashion show. And yes, we LEOs typically participate in as most dancing as possible! After the host night, we LEOs went out for socializing and had a great time. Now, we had to get back to the hostel, and here’s the story:

Hostels are always charming and cozy, and this time was no different – you really get the chance to get close to the rest of the group – the boys were especially lucky, as we had two rooms in extend of each other, totaling over 10 guys sleeping together – the only downside with big rooms like this is, if somebody is snoring. And by snoring I mean the Slovenian way, where you actually make people switch rooms because of the noise, even though they’ve tried to wake you up for half an hour! We had a lot of fun about it the next day though.

On the Saturday, while some LEOs went around Sofia to see the beautiful architecture on historical buildings, the ILOs had planned to do some promotion for our European activity LEO 4 Green, which goal is to improve environmental awareness by promoting environmental friendly services. We spend most of the day filming for our activity, before the closing ceremony, which, as always, was a beautiful event and a nice way to end some inspirational and rewarding days with a lot of great people from all around the world.

The last event is the gala, which is a great tradition – everybody dresses up, and the frame is set for a spectacular evening. This year was no different – all of the LEOs got ready at the hostel, and afterwards we met at the conference center. The atmosphere is always incredible, because everyone makes an extra effort is in general excited for what the night brings. The ingredients for a great gala is a beautiful venue, good food, great music and of course, the most important, great people.

This year, we, as always, had a ton of fun. The incredible thing about LEOs is, that no matter what we’re served with, we’ll manage to get the best out of it. We danced, laughed, shared some great dishes, had a lot of fun photos taken and made some great memories – that’s the most important thing. I won’t go into too much details, as I think it’s hard to how amazing these evenings actually are.

Tears and goodbyes is usually what the last day is filled with, and of course we guys doesn’t cry, but it’s still a bit sad to leave all of your friends which you’ve spend time with. Some people leave early (directly?), some people get a few hours of sleep and some people doesn’t have to leave before the evening.
I left at noon, which were fine as it wasn’t too early, neither too late. The last thing I remember, is the plane taking of, before I woke up in Copenhagen again, with a lot of great memories, inspiration and renewed passion for doing a difference for others.

By Andreas Vejlstrup, ILO of MD-106 Denmark

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1st LEO ISAAME Forum

The LIONS club World is divided in areas. The most important one is ISAAME area. ISAAME stand for India, South Asia,Africa and Middle East.

November, 30th – December 5th
Colombo, Sri Lanka

For the first time ever, LEOs decided to organize the LEO ISAAME  Forum, which is a separate ISAAME  Forum for LEOs, also in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Many LEOs from the Area went to this first event, dealing with “Excellence through Innovation”. This event that was a separate one from the Lions Club ,but also offered many meeting time with Lions. Several LIONS Official, panelist, past, present and future international President also took part to this event. The opening ceremony has been made with LIONS member at Prime Minister Official Residence, Temple Tree, with more than 2300 Lions. The traditional parade have also been a moment of exchange between LIONS and LEO.

This first Leo ISAAME  Forum has been a world top class event. We have been invited to intend many conference about leadership, excellence and innovation with top class speakers. Oak Brook team member also informed us about new innovation, gave us a panorama of Leos activities, and answered to many questions.

More than a seminar, it also have been a moment of discovery and exchange. Discovery of Sri Lanka, that is one of the most exciting destination in South Asia, offering traditions, modernity, wild life and stunning landscape. We visited Colombo, Kandy with the tooth Relic and Kandy Royal Botanic Garden during VIP tours.

But it was also a moment of exchange, with Sri Lankan inhabitants that were really friendly and spoke with us on the street to teach us many things and story, with a big smile that is a Sri Lankan signature. And also an exchange with Leos from ISAAME  Area that hosted us like king, and showed their deep friendship to European Leos.

I would like to thank everyone for this Event that is a benchmark and great success. It has been a pleasure to intend such an amazing meeting, full of discovery, new skills, fun, sharing, and humanity.

I invite all the LEOs, and also LIONS, to intend the second LEO ISAAME  forum 2017 that will be held in Kolkata, India, 17-20 December 2017. This event will be a lifetime opportunity to meet Leo From ISAAME forum and come back in Europe with lovely memories, new friends and new skills, but also a better understanding of world new challenge and cultural heritage.

Samy SAHLI , Delegation Leader , France

 MD-103 France

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Charter LEO club Leiden, the Netherlands

Officially a member of the Leo family

Dear Leos,

People who know me from the LEF events in Germany or Estonia maybe know that at that time I was not a “real” Leo attending these Forums. This has changed! Finally, at the 17th of September 2016 we had our charter night in Leiden (The Netherlands), where Danny van der Helm and I (Joost Meijer) became official Leos. After this charter night, our Leo club Leiden Viribus Unitas, is now part of the worldwide Leo community.

During a period of two years – in which we did different Leo activities; like raising money or doing charity work, we had a lot of fun nationally in The Netherlands and internationally at LEF – we grew as a club and as individuals. For me that is the core meaning of being a Leo: growing as individuals and as a club while giving back to your community at the same time.

On Saturday, September 17th, we organised a benefit charter night for the VTV Foundation. This foundation organises leisure and educational activities for people with a mental or physical disability, while at the same time focusing on integrating people with disabilities into society. Both the VTV Foundation and us as Leos have a similar aim in our work, which is why we chose to donate to them.
We started the evening with the official parts of a charter night. There where speeches from the presidents of our club, our sponsor club and the president of the Dutch Leo board. Furthermore, we signed the Leo charter document and finally we received our Leo pin! (I bet you that we are going to wear it with pride at LEF2017)
After the official part, we held an auction, played bingo and did a lottery to raise money for VTV Foundation. Together with our guests we raised € 2.750 for the foundation. They will use this money for their summer projects in 2017.

We really appreciated the presence of many Lions, our families, friends and (inter-)national Leos at our Charter. As special thank you to Madalina Vlasie (Romania) and Sille Sarap (Estonia) for your joining us at our charter!
Now that we officially are Leos we are proud to say that we started our club in Leiden in order to give back to our community and are now standing here with a motivated growing club, ready to help the people and nature in need.

Joost Meijer, Leo Club Leiden Viribus Unitas

Service weekend within twinned Leo Clubs

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Saturday May the 7th 2016 in Giardini Naxos (Italy), the Leo Club Giardini Naxos Valle dell’Alcantara (part of Sicilan Leo District 108YB) together with Leo Club Weert Montmorency ( from The Dutch District 110CO) organised a food dive in the supermarket named Sidis. The Goal of the event was to collect food for the needy families of the Sicilian town.

“ It has been a wonderful chance to ‘’serve’’ the Giardini Naxos community and, at the same time to strenghten our 2-year-old  frendship with the guys of Leo Club Weert Montmorency with which we are very proud to be twinned with!’’ states Giovanni D’Amato, President of Leo Club Giardini Naxos VdA for the social year 2015/2016.


No language barrier could stop the Dutch Leo’s, who tried hard  (and succeded) to explain the goal of the food drive to the clients of the supermarket who supported with great generosity our initiative.

That’s the proof that the proactivity and commitment to our Leo principles goes beyond the cultural differences.


This activity has been followed by a second one within the same weekend. On Sunday the 8th of May both Clubs took part and contributed to the charity marathon “Corri Catania” , combining service and a loto of fun.

Alessandra Garufi

Member of Leo Club Giardini Naxos Valle dell’Alcantara –  MD 108YB (Italy)

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