Lions attending the international convention in Hamburg can get down with Up With People, be serenaded by the world’s most popular classical singer and bask in the vibes of Peace, Love and Understanding. And that’s just what’s on tap at the plenaries and International Show. The 96th International Convention, July 5-9 in Hamburg, Germany, is shaping up to be one of the more memorable conventions. Registrations had shot past 19,000 by press time, a “phenomenal” figure according to convention officials at Lions Clubs International. Conventions are rarely held in Europe (because of the relative lack of sizeable venues and hotel space). A large number of Europeans have registered. Lions from elsewhere apparently are drawn by the opportunity to visit an Old World city, full of history and the charms of other ages, yet cosmopolitan and modern, too. Whatever the reasons Lions are coming, the large pool of Lions in Hamburg will result in a convention representative of the worldwide character of Lions Clubs International. The convention experience is unlike any other for Lions. Lions rub shoulders and often share a lunch or exchange pleasantries with Lions from more than 120 countries. They march through the city during the festive Parade of Nations, attend worthwhile seminars, vote on the association’s future, enjoy outstanding entertainment at the plenary sessions and International Show, and hear inspiring, renowned speakers. The convention’s most anticipated performer undoubtedly will be Andrea Bocelli, the Italian tenor whose record sales top 80 million. The power of his singing and the richness of his voice have awed audiences, critics and fellow entertainers. “If God could sing, he would sound a lot like Andrea Bocelli,” Celine Dion said. Bocelli will sing at the third plenary. Bocelli’s eponymous foundation supports researchers at MIT and Northeastern University who are developing wearable devices for people who are blind or have low vision. The singer will receive the Lions Humanitarian Award. “I strongly believe that love does justice. We are all responsible for building a better world,” says Bocelli, who suffered from poor vision as a child because of congenital glaucoma. He then lost his sight after being hit in the head during a soccer game when he was 12. Former U.S. First Lady Laura Bush will be the keynote speaker at the convention. She will speak on her involvement with global issues. The plenaries also include speeches by candidates for international director and officer and by the current and new international presidents. The plenary sessions showcase Lions’ service–in some instances through song or dance. In a nod both to Hamburg being where the Beatles came together as a band and to the fundamental wellsprings of service, the themes of the plenaries are peace, love and understanding. The music at the sessions include songs from the Broadway hit “Hair,” a Beatles cover band and a children’s gospel choir from Germany. The always entertaining International Show, an eyeopening display of singing and dancing from around the world, features Up With People. For 48 years, this group of young people from many nations between the ages of 18 and 29 has sung, danced and promoted international understanding. Its latest show is “Voices”–“a unique performance featuring both original and popular music and a dynamic blend of featured soloists, full-cast production numbers, fast-moving choreography and colorful costumes,” according to a press release. At the exhibit hall Lions can obtain information and strategies on membership, leadership, public relations and more from staff of Lions Clubs International. Several special events are sprinkled throughout convention week at the hall. The Strides Walk has morphed into a Strides Dance, where Lions can get in some exercise while raising awareness of diabetes. The symphony orchestra of the German Lions will provide a stimulating soundtrack. Hands-on social media training will enable Lions who know little about Twitter and Facebook to understand the basics and teach Lions with more experience advanced techniques. The Presentation Stage will be a useful forum for Lions to share success stories. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Peace Poster contest, and Lions in Hamburg can meet past grand prize winners as well as the 2012-13 grand prize winner, Jenny Park from California. The contest winners will be recognized during the first plenary. Afterward, a presentation and reception will be held in the Hamburg Messe und Congress from 3 to 3:45 p.m. and a poster signing event will be from 3:45 to 4:45 p.m. More than 10,000 Lions are expected to take part in the parade. It will start at the majestic Rathaus, the town hall and Hamburg’s symbolic heart, and then snake its way around the imposing Binnenalster, a man-made lake. At the march’s end the Lions will spill into a sprawling “market of nations,” where 30 pavilions will serve international foods and highlight Lions’ service worldwide. As always, the convention’s seminars, led by experts and leaders, run the gamut–from the latest information on popular Lions programs such as Lions Quest and youth exchange to tools and strategies to increasing membership and strengthening clubs. Lions who attend seminars return to their clubs with knowledge and skills to take their club to a new level of service. The complete list of seminars is found at www.lionmagazine.org. Finally, while in Germany, be sure to actually experience Germany, to see the sights, taste its foods and enjoy its culture. Lions tours are offered on foot, in smooth-moving boats and on comfortable coaches. Cruise the lovely canals, view stunning buildings and walk in the steps of the Beatles. Hapag-Lloyd in partnership with Beeftea Live is offering Lions and their guests specially priced escorted local tours. Based in Germany, these travel outfits are experts on Hamburg; they’ve chosen the “best of the best” tour options for Lions to enjoy during convention week. The hardest decision will be choosing which tours to take. Avoid having your favorite tour sell out by reserving your space today using the secure online link. Search “Local Tours” from the LCI home page to access the booking link and detailed tour descriptions. Hapag-Lloyd/ Beeftea Live will have a Tour Desk at the Hamburg Messe (HM) convention center. All of the tours are fully escorted with an English-speaking guide and offered at special Lions prices. If interested in designing a custom local tour for your group or if you have questions, email Lions.Reisen@TUI-LT.de. The tours are described in detail at www.lionmagazine.org.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
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