PtG Article 06.11.2005

Message of support to Play the Game from Kofi Annan

On its first day, the Play the Game communication conference on sport and society received a major boost in the form of a message of support from United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

The message was relayed by Adolf Ogi, UN Under Secretary and Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General on Sport for Development and Peace, who addressed the conference with a strong speech concentrating on sport’s positive aspects.

Mr Ogi, who can list ‘President of Switzerland’ among his former jobs, expressed his disappointment that sport’s positive characteristics do not always receive the same media attention as the negative stories and scandals.

At a time when many of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals are set to be missed and where bigotry, distrust and terrorism are all contributing to global unrest, he pointed out that the UN has given the world of sport fresh opportunities to demonstrate to politicians how these problems can be solved.

He pointed to UN Resolution 58/5, entitled “Sport as a Means to Promote Education, Health, Development and Peace” and 2005’s International Year of Sport and Physical Education as two concrete initiatives which have given sport a greater role in global development and conflict resolution

As positive examples of sport’s benefits, he pointed to the UN’s work with sport in refugee camps on Thai – Myamar border, interracial football schools in Israel – Palestine, the ‘Sport for Social Inclusion’ programme in Brazil and the recent India-Pakistan cricket series. 

As a further example of sport’s conciliatory power, he pointed to the fact that representatives of 200 nations - including North and South Koreans, and Arabs and Israelis - were able to live together in the Olympic village side by side while politics took a back seat to sport. He added that the fundamental principles of sport - teamwork and fair play and a respect for opponents and rules - are an excellent method of learning life skills.

Adolf Ogi, Special Adviser to Kofi Annan on sport and development


Official high resolution pictures from the conference are provided by photographer Niels Nyholm.

You are free to download them and use them on your website and in printed material provided you credit Play the Game and photographer Niels Nyholm.

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