From left: Lions Clubs International, International Vice President Naresh Agrawal, Lions Clubs International, International President Chancellor Bob Corlew, Lions Clubs International, International Director Sanjay Khetan and Lions Clubs International Past President Mahendra Amarasuriya
By Zahara Zuhair
Attracting over 2000 foreign delegates from over 60 countries, the 44th ISAAME (India, South Asia, Africa and Middle East) Forum, hosted by The Lions of multiple district 306 Sri Lanka, started in Colombo recently.
This is the fourth time Sri Lanka is hosting the conference and the first in post war Sri Lanka, which will take place from November 30-December 3.
“Being held in this beautiful island, the world will know about Sri Lanka, and the country will be promoted by the presence of these people and if I talk in the economical terms with regard to Sri Lanka, even if one person spends US $ 2000, US $ 1 million goes to the economy,” Lions Clubs International, International Director Sanjay Khetan said talking about how important this conference would be to Sri Lanka, at a media conference held in Colombo. The forum themed, ‘Towards the new century of service’, will focus on the challenges facing the Lions of the world as they enter the second century of humanitarian service.
Imparting some of the services they do, Lions Clubs International, International President Chancellor Bob Corlew, who hopes to make it a full service organisation, said that they help visually effected people, preserve the environment planting more than 20 million trees, conduct hunger relieve programmes, natural disaster programers as well as promote world peace.
“Lions of course believe that the young people are leaders of our future. We have extensive programmes for our youth, one of the programmes we offer is the peace poster contest.
We promote world peace in that way. In fact our efforts globally understood. Lions International this year was nominated on 200 nominees to receive the Nobel peace prize, though we were not selected, we were honoured just to be nominated,” he said.
It was noted that there are two important parts in their Leo programme, which are Alpha, which involves people under 18 years and Omega, which involves people all the way up to 28 years. They said that they are looking forward to actively engage more young people to their programmes.
“Next century belong to the youth, we have a lot of expectations from youth,” they said.
Furthermore, they also appreciated Sri Lankan Lions good work in professionalism and discipline.
It was noted that the Lions organisation, which celebrates 100 years this year, is the largest service organisation in the world consisting 1.4 million Lions from 200 countries.
Sri Lankan Airlines and Sri Lanka Tourism Promotional Bureau and the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau have joined hands in promoting this endeavour.
Many events such as the Lions Business Forum and the Lions cricket sixes, a country parade and a cultural perahera have been organised for the benefit of the delegates and the Sri Lankan business community.