“Our world is incredible in its diversity. We are all beautiful and unique in our experiences, abilities, and culture. But we cannot let our differences divide us.” International President, Jung-Yul Choi

The world has changed a lot since Lions was founded in 1917. And Lions have changed with the times. What started as an inspired idea has turned into a global movement, bringing kindness and compassion to countless millions through the incredibly diverse projects engineered by the equally diverse men and women serving as Lions.

There are over 1.4 million Lions around the world, and more than 48,000 clubs. There are Lions in more than 200 countries and regions. We are one of the most diverse and inclusive volunteer organizations on earth.

Given the extraordinary circumstances of the past year, it’s important to remember just how important diversity and inclusion are to our mission of service. Lions are devoted to serving humanity. All of humanity. From our headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois, to clubs on every continent, Lions embrace the beauty and the value of all people — both the people we serve, and the people we serve with.

The incredible perspectives, cultures, and life experiences that our members bring to our organization, and each other, are our greatest strength. Together, we represent one of the most important organizations in the world, one that focuses on peace, kindness, compassion, and — above all else — serving others.

“Lions serve the world, because Lions are the world,” says LCIF Chairperson Gudrun Yngvadottir. “We are from 200 countries and countless cultures. But we don’t just want to represent the world — we want show how serving together makes us stronger,” she says.

International President Choi believes so strongly in the necessity of diversity in service that he made it his message for his original and extended presidential term. “We serve all people, in all places, and it’s our great diversity that enables our exceptional service,” says President Choi.

But when we talk about diversity, it’s important to define what that really means. “It isn’t just across countries, religions, and ethnicities,” says Leo-Lions Ambassador Aayush Bagla. “But for our organization to be truly diverse we have to accept people across generations and ages as one and equal. Leos and young Lions should not be just looked upon as volunteers who have the enthusiasm and strength but need wisdom, they should be looked at as partners in service with whom we can have a journey of development. Imparting knowledge as well as receiving it.”

And indeed, Leos and young Lions have been critical to many clubs’ recent successes. One club in India was having trouble reaching victims of a flood and Leos came up with the idea to use drones to get them food and aid. “Over the years I have seen that clubs that have evolved to include young members are the ones that are thriving,” says Bagla. “They are not just growing but also evolving.”

Diversity means including women at all levels, too, honoring the unique perspective they bring and recognizing that only together can we truly be great. “What I love about service is that it knows no gender, no color, no religion,” says PIP Yngvadottir. “And we are truly stronger as an organization, and as clubs, when we have a diverse mix of experiences contributing to

the energy and ideas that make Lions so great.”

The past year has been devastating globally. Yet, in every way, Lions have stepped up to answer the needs of their community and the world. From providing face masks to serving drive-through dinners, to providing encouragement and thanks to our frontline workers, Lions are showing the world who we are and what we are capable of. By working together, we can rise to meet the challenges of our times.

“It’s not easy to unite all the members of your club, your district, or our association,” says President Choi. “But if we really want to change our communities, and the world, we must unite. We must find harmony. We must all work together. Because we are all in this world together.”

Indeed, every Lion is critical to the success of clubs and our communities. “When we embrace balance in Lions, we strengthen our membership, our leadership, our communities and our world,” says PIP Yngvadottir.

If our over 100-year history has proved anything, it’s that Lions always answer the call. “Lions have shown so much courage in this past year,” says President Choi. “And undoubtedly will continue to serve, united in kindness and diversity, through the coming year with the same strength and pride.”

Watch our International President discuss the importance of a diverse group of Lions.