Nothing speaks louder to the world’s need for harmony than a child’s vision of peace—except for the collective expressions of millions of children.
Since 1988, Lions Clubs International has sponsored the annual Lions International Peace Poster Contest to encourage young people to express their perspectives on peace. Every year, as many as 400,000 children ages 11 to 13 from around the world participate in the contest. Sponsored by local clubs, the international competition reflects one of the key tenets of the Lions—to create and foster a spirit of understanding among the peoples of the world.
One international grand prize winner and 23 merit award winners are chosen each year for their unique and heartfelt visions of peace created from crayon, watercolor, pencil and other mediums. All winners receive a cash prize and certificate.
Mustapha El Tawokji from war-torn Beirut, Lebanon, won the first Peace Poster Contest in 1988-1989 by expressing the theme, “Peace Will Help Us Grow,” with a dove flying over a bed of roses. While he had never known peace, he expressed his vision of what peace would be like.
Grand prize winners have come from all over the world: Italy, Japan, Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa and the United States, just to name a few. The artwork and creativity of every child who enters the contest is celebrated by its sponsoring Lions club. Each young artist’s work reflects his or her own experience, culture and worldview.
Visually impaired young people also have the opportunity to share their expressions of peace through the Lions International Essay Contest. Each year students ages 11 to 13 enter short essays on the same theme as the Peace Poster program for a chance to win a cash prize.
Both contests trace their roots back to a program in the 1960s called the Peace Essay Contest. To help celebrate LCI’s 50th anniversary in 1967, Lions asked young people ages 14 to 21 to submit an essay on peace. More than 1 million entries were received. Former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower served as honorary chairman of the international panel that chose high school student A. Russell Wodell of Cranbrook, British Columbia, Canada, as the winner for his essay titled, “Is Peace Attainable?”
“There is no easy road to peace,” wrote Wodell. “Only through evolution of his social, moral and intellectual values can man achieve true peace with himself.”
Young people from around the globe continue to offer Lions their expressions of peace in the hopes that one day the dream may come true.
At Lions Day with the United Nations on March 4, 2017, International President Chancellor Bob Corlew signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Madame Lakshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.
The MOU establishes a partnership between Lions Clubs International and UN Women to work towards gender equality through the promotion and inaction of UN Sustainable Goal Number 5 Gender Equality: Achieve gender equality and empower women and girls.
Through joint programming, campaigning, advocacy, fundraising and more, UN Women and Lions worldwide can achieve our common objectives: strengthening and investing in young women’s leadership, ending all forms of violence against women and girls, and strengthening the partnership with adolescent boys and young men in gender equality.
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Not every Lions Centennial Legacy Project has to be a monumental undertaking. The Taylorsville-Winfield Lions Club in Carroll County, Maryland, for example, decided to install a beautiful oak bench in the local park for their Legacy Project.
Past district governor Kent Eitemiller, secretary of the Taylorsville-Winfield Lions Club, explains how the bench came into being. “A few years ago, Carroll County developed our very first park, and the park director came and spoke at our club. He offered us the opportunity to add a Lions marker to the new park, and we unanimously agreed to provide a bench with our club name and logo on it.”
Nestled on more than 100 acres, Krimgold Park boasts several ball fields, open pavilions, a playground, four evergreen-lined ponds, a scenic walking path and a beaver that calls the park home. And now, there’s a comfortable, inviting Lions bench situated directly across from the playground where parents and grandparents can relax and enjoy spending time with their little ones.
“Installing a bench with our name on it was a way of letting residents know that our Lions club is here and is actively helping people,” said Linda Brady, club president. “We serve a lot of needs in the community, from hosting ice cream socials at assisted living facilities to providing eyeglasses, food and medical equipment. We recently helped a 20-year-old paraplegic man purchase a hospital bed that would accommodate his six foot frame.
“When you look around and see the hardships others are experiencing, it is a wonderful feeling to be able to give them a hand. Our park bench adds a lot to the community—and is an invitation for people to join us so that, together, we can help even more neighbors in need.”
A bench is a welcome addition to any setting, whether it’s a bustling city or serene suburb. Benches bring people together. Which is exactly what Lions clubs do the world around, every day. What could be a more lasting legacy than that?
Design a Legacy Project that fits your club and your community. Start planning yours today!
Os Leões estão conectados às suas comunidades e permanecem ativos nos esforços de socorro depois que as necessidades imediatas foram atendidas. Os subsídios de Recuperação de Comunidades oferecem recursos no valor de até US$ 20.000 para financiar os trabalhos de limpeza e reparação de curto prazo, quando outras organizações já tiverem atendido às necessidades imediatas. O objetivo é que os Leões se concentrem em grupos selecionados com necessidades específicas não atendidas onde se identificou falhas nos serviços de socorro da comunidade.
Em março de 2016, uma tempestade de granizo danificou o telhado de um hospital em uma cidade movimentada no sul do Brasil. Os vazamentos resultantes destruíram grande parte das ferramentas cirúrgicas do hospital. Os Leões do Distrito LD-6 usaram um subsídio de Recuperação de Comunidades de US$ 20.000 para substituir a máquina de anestesia danificada, máquina para detectar sinais vitais, lâmpada de cirurgia e outros equipamentos cirúrgicos.
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In Lebanon this past weekend, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the theme of the first Lions International Peace Poster Contest: “Peace Will Help Us Grow.” Thirteen-year-old…