Oak Brook, Illinois, USA, July 31, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Dr. Denis Mukwege, was further honored by Lions Clubs International at its recent international convention held in Milan, Italy. During a July 9, 2019 ceremony attended by more than 12,000 Lions members from around the world, Dr. Mukwege humbly accepted the Lions Clubs International Foundation Humanitarian Award for his work treating victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other conflict zones around the world, and his advocacy to stop it. In his acceptance remarks, Dr. Mukwege said, “All of us share the responsibility to respond in a timely manner to the needs of those whom society has failed to protect, and to find solutions and funding to better address the consequences of sexual violence.” Dr. Mukwege concluded his remarks with an impassioned plea to Lions and the world, saying, “I would like to take this opportunity to call upon all men of goodwill in the world to join with women to support them in this fight for equality, for harmony and for dignity.” Lions International President Gudrun Yngvadottir presented the award to Dr. Mukwege, who received a standing ovation from the Lions in the audience. President Yngvadottir said, “I am honored to present this award on behalf of the more than 1.4 million Lions Clubs members around the world. Your work is changing lives, and we are proud to support you in your endeavors.” The Lions Humanitarian Award comes with a $250,000 prize, which Dr. Mukwege will use to further his cause. He joins a distinguished list of prior recipients, including Mother Teresa, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, and Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Mathai. Lions Clubs International and the Mukwege Foundation will continue to explore possibilities to work together to help victims of sexual violence. Lions membership in Africa continues to expand, with nearly 30,000 members now serving the needs of African communities. Lions Clubs International participates in the global measles initiative, which to date has vaccinated more than 40 million children in Africa against measles, the leading cause of childhood blindness worldwide. In addition, Lions are working with The Carter Center to eradicate river blindness in Ethiopia, Nigeria and Uganda, and treat trachoma in hard hit areas of the continent. Lions have also restored sight to millions of people by providing free cataract surgeries. Due to the rapid expansion of members and services in Africa, Lions Clubs International Board of Directors has designated Africa as its own “constitutional area” within the organization, which will continue to add emphasis to Lions’ activities there. Lions Clubs International is the largest service club organization in the world. More than 1.4 million members in over 48,000 clubs are serving in 200 countries and geographic areas around the globe. Since 1917, Lions have strengthened local communities through hands-on service and humanitarian projects, and we are able to extend our service impact through the generous support of our Lions Clubs International Foundation. We are focused on supporting sight, hunger, the environment, childhood cancer and our new global cause, diabetes, to help address some of the biggest challenges facing humanity. Lions have set an ambitious goal of helping 200 million people per year so we can bring even more service to more people than ever before. For more information about Lions Clubs International, visit lionsclubs.org. Panzi Hospital and Foundations were founded by Dr. Denis Mukwege, a world-renowned gynecological surgeon and the 2018 co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Dr. Mukwege opened Panzi Hospital in 1999 to provide the women in his community with access to high-quality maternal health care. Many of his first patients, however, were not delivering mothers, but instead women who were seeking treatment following brutal rapes. This had a profound effect on his life and career, inspiring him to become an advocate against sexual violence in conflict in DRC and around the globe. Since 1999, Dr. Mukwege and his staff at Panzi Hospital and Foundations have helped to care for more than 55,000 survivors of sexual violence utilizing a compassionate, holistic healing model that combines medical treatment, psychological care, community-reintegration services, and legal support.