The Macedonian Philharmonic concert, the sound of national hymns and unforgettable addresses had officially opened the 64TH Lions Europa Forum held in Skopje.
Dear readers, here is a selection of some of the opening addresses:
Lion Nebojsha Davidovski, President of the 2018 Lions Europa Forum Skopje
-Welcome to Macedonia, Welcome to Skopje. We have worked relentlessly over the past few years in preparation of this Forum, and I am already convinced that this is the best organized Europa Forum for all our Lyons, so far. Please relish the beauties of our country. Thank you wholeheartedly for your massive participation from all over the world. We serve!
HE Zoran Zaev, Prime minister of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia
Dear Lions, I hope you continue to represent beacons of light and convey the message that competition in charity is the competition where everybody wins. Your mission is to encourage and motivate volunteers to serve their communities, to engage in serving the basic humanitarian needs of others, to support peace and to promote international understanding through your Lions clubs. All this makes you leaders of the humanitarian aid community. The very motto of the Lions – We serve – is the loud and confident testimony to your eternal values fostered for the communities, said Prime minister Zaev.
Lion Sonja Bojadzieva, D132 Macedonia Governor
I rejoice this opportunity to host this Europa Forum. It is a great chance for all of us to be able to present our hospitality. We invested all our energy, knowledge and resources in the organization of this great event. We have lived for this occasion, which makes all Macedonian Lions proud. It gives me such pleasure to see representatives from Lions clubs in over 40 European countries, as well as Lions from all over the world – here in Skopje, the city of solidarity, the city of Mother Theresa. I wish we build many new bridges of friendship among us!
Gudrun Yngvadottir, International President LCI
Greetings, Lions. The Europa forum is so close to my heart. I am very happy to be here with my wonderful Lions family!
We are all living at a critical moment in history and global needs have never been greater. Over 425 million people live today with diabetes. Natural disasters happen around the world, causing massive challenges for families and communities. Millions go to bed hungry every night. And millions more have been displaced by conflict. We know that the need for humanitarian aid is ever present, and growing.
These challenges, combined with the everyday challenges facing our neighbors and communities, highlight the need for our humanitarian service – Service at a global scale. True, the needs are great. But, as you all know, we are uniquely positioned to bring uncommon kindness when and where it’s needed to the global communities we serve.
No, Lions do not run away from challenges. We run toward them. This, friends are at the heart of my presidential message this year.
We have a destination. We have the wind in our sails. But, the wind changes and we need to adapt. So we look to the horizon and stay our course. And what is our destination? Our destination is to serve more people every day and every year.
Youth are the future of our organization. More than half the world’s population is under 30, and they are volunteering at a high rate.
Our service spans generations. And it’s critical that we give the next generation every opportunity to not only serve as Lions and Leos but also to be service leaders.
Our young people are ready to serve. They are ready to contribute now.
They have incredible ideas and we need to listen. We need to be willing to change and give them opportunities to lead projects so they will be ready to lead us into the future of service.
Young people are ready to change the world. Let’s give them an opportunity to do it as Lions and Leos.
Lions are there. Lions are reaching out. We are making a difference.
Friends, we have the heart, the compassion, and the most incredible volunteers on earth.
Together, we can reach a level of humanitarian good the world has never seen. Together, we are bringing renewed meaning to the lives of many and a purpose to ourselves. Together we can reach new horizons in service. We will move our service beyond the horizon.
Thank you, Macedonia! Thank you, Lions, for all you do to make our world a better place.