More than 12,000 people from over 150 countries around the world gathered in Sydney this month for one of the biggest annual events this city has seen, the 93rd Annual Lions International Convention 2010.
And while the logistical challenges of mounting one of Sydney’s largest events were great, the convention went off without a hitch, with consensus noting it was a milestone event for both Lions and the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre.
“In addition to having access to some great venues, we made sure we partnered with an experienced team in planning the convention”, Lions Executive Officer Rob Oerlemans said. “The Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre’s facilities are some of the best in the country, and were the icing on the cake for such a successful event.”
The week-long Lions International Convention occupied more than half the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre’s exhibition halls, along with an array of meeting rooms holding numerous committee meetings and breakfast, lunch and dinner events at the Darling Harbour venue.
The Convention also featured a three-part presidential address with live music and entertainment hosted by the Lions International President Eberhard Wirfs at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, which is managed by the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Guest speakers included Australia’s 25th Governor-General, Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC, 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Winner Dr Wangari Maathai, and Captain “Sully” Sullenberger, the American pilot who made a courageous emergency landing in the Hudson River, saving hundreds of people. Both Dr Maathai and Captain Sullenberger were made honorary Lion members at the convention.
“Coordinating such high level speakers and moving more than 12,000 international guests through information sessions and exhibitions across a variety of venues so smoothly was a feat by both the Lions events teams and the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre,” Mr Oerlemans said. “We have been planning the event since 2003 and we are thrilled to see that all our efforts and hard work paid off.”
Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre Chief Executive Ton van Amerongen said the event was one the largest meetings to be held at the award-winning venue.
“Events of this scale take great planning and great team work and we were very proud to play our role in ensuring so many visitors from around the world enjoyed their time in Sydney and had a successful meeting.”
Dozens of staff from the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre’s audio visual, catering, event management and exhibition teams, and over 100 Lions International headquarters staff, and Australian delegates worked on arrangements for convention events, outside suppliers and exhibitors.
Special mention must also go to the scores of Australian volunteers who assisted over the course of the week. Without them, the convention would not have run as smoothly.
Other highlights of the week long convention included the Parade of Nations, where 12,000 Lions delegates, many in national dress, paraded down Macquarie Street from Hyde Park to The Sydney Opera House. Colourful floats and marching bands were cheered on by the thousands of spectators who congregated in the city to watch the procession.
The Global Youth Music Awards, another key event, was held in the Bayside Auditorium of the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, where 10 young finalists from around the world competed on the violin. One of the competitors was Australian Ji Won Kim, from Kingsford, Sydney.