Wilfried Lemke, the Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace to the United Nations Secretary-General, today visited the Russian International Olympic University (RIOU), meeting with RIOU's Rector, Professor Lev Belousov, faculty members and students on the one-year Master of Sport Administration (MSA) programme.
As part of the visit, Mr. Lemke gave a lecture titled "Sport as a Tool for Development and Peace" in which he outlined the UN's five main priorities in this field: sport as a driving force for development in Africa; conflict resolution; advancing gender equality; fostering the inclusion of persons with a disability; promoting youth development; and supporting community role models.
Mr. Lemke, speaking after his lecture, said: "The United Nations aims to systematically use sport as a tool to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Sport can play a crucial role in that endeavour since it can equip people with important skills and promote virtues, such as fairness and fair play, tolerance, respect, team spirit and self-esteem." Mr. Lemke also elaborated on the Youth Leadership Programmes organised by the UN office on Sport for Development and Peace: "I meet many highly motivated young people from different countries who volunteer to work on social and Sport for Development and Peace projects. They are tirelessly supporting their communities but most of these young people only have very basic education levels and limited resources with which to carry out their projects. Thus, the idea of organising Youth Leadership Programmes was conceived in order to support such people by giving them access to theoretical and practical training needed to improve both their projects and their own professional progress."
RIOU was established in October 2009 just days after the International Olympic Committee – one of RIOU's three founding organisations – was granted observer status by the UN General Assembly. Four years after both these historic moments, Mr. Lemke discussed the UN's relationship between the UN and the IOC, which allows the IOC to attend and participate in all UN General Assembly meetings.
Professor Lev Belousov said: "The students on our inaugural MSA programme have just completed a course titled "Politics and the Olympic Movement" so this meeting with Mr Lemke in his role as the Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace to the UN Secretary-General was organised at a perfect time for them. "The UN is an internationally important organisation when it comes to sport and youth development and we would like to thank Mr. Lemke for his highly informative lecture. The UN's core values of tolerance, respect, equality and peace are also reflected in the Olympic Charter and RIOU seeks to promote these in all its teachings".