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Speech by CE at 55th Orient & Southeast Asian Lions Forum

Following is the speech by the Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, at the 55th Orient & Southeast Asian Lions (OSEAL) Forum today (November 11) at AsiaWorld-Expo:

Mr Leung (Chairperson of the 55th OSEAL Forum, Mr Tommy Leung), Mr Corlew (President of Lions Clubs International, Mr Bob Corlew), Peter (Chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, Dr Peter Lam), distinguished guests, government colleagues, lions,

It gives me great pleasure to be here for the opening ceremony of the 55th Orient & Southeast Asian Lions Forum. A very warm welcome to some 8 000 lions from all over the world joining this celebrated event in Hong Kong.

I hope you enjoyed the ceremonial opening as much as I did. The Centennial Torch Relay symbolises the passing of the Lions spirit from one generation to another. The spirit of more than 1.4 million of extraordinary individuals, worldwide, who make the Lions Clubs a global force for all that is right and good in our world.

This is, I am pleased to note, the eighth time that Hong Kong has hosted this prestigious international event since its inception in 1962. This year is particularly special, given that Lions Clubs International District 303 - Hong Kong & Macao, China is celebrating its 60th anniversary. I am sure you will enjoy this year's delightful programme - a great opportunity to exchange knowledge and build friendship through seminars, exhibitions, bazaars and receptions.

The theme of this year's Forum - "Celebrate the Change" - puts a deserving spotlight on the work of District 303, and that of over 80 clubs in the region. I am particularly taken with this line from the theme's statement, and I quote, "If nothing ever changed, nature would have no butterfly." We humans are creators. We have the power to do good. To change lives. And we have the courage to face challenges. To fight for the betterment of humanity.

That, I believe, is the commitment of all Lions, worldwide. And certainly those from District 303. Let me just say how grateful I am for their continuing efforts, their selfless services, over these past six decades.

District 303's projects are wide-ranging - from education and youth development to healthcare, elderly services and environmental protection - all very well-thought out initiatives to better the lives of the people. Not only in Hong Kong and Macau, but also in the Mainland of China and the rest of the region.

The Hong Kong Government shares your spirit. Like Lions everywhere, we are determined to bring about change - better change - through developing the economy, improving the livelihood of the people, and creating a more equitable society by sharing the fruits of prosperity with all.

In this, I know that we - the Government and the Lions Clubs - will continue to work together, hand in hand. As we do, I take heart in your motto, as local as it is global: "Where there's a need, there's a Lion."

For that, we are very grateful.

Ladies and gentlemen, I wish you all a rewarding Forum. And I hope you make time to explore the many natural and urban charms of Hong Kong.

Thank you.


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