United States Sports Academy President and CEO Thomas P. Rosandich is attending the 3rd International Forum on Sport for Peace and Development featuring United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban-Ki moon and IOC President Jacques Rogge, as well as other world sport leaders.
The major biennial event, which is scheduled June 5-6 at the UN headquarters in New York, aims to assess the successes and challenges of using sport as a tool for human development and peace promotion and looks at how to pave the way for future concerted action in these fields. It is organized by the IOC and the UN Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP), with the support of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).
The presentations and discussions are being given under the motto “Creating a Common Vision,” and are focusing on the following five areas:
• Integrating and Mainstreaming Sport in Development and Peace – Moving from Communication to Organizational Objectives
• The Culture of Peace through Sport – Concrete Actions and Challenges
• Sport and Social Integration
• Sport and Social Development Legacies
• Capitalizing on Partnerships and Networking
The IOC and UN have worked together the past several years on positioning sport as a catalyst for achieving the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. Recent recommendations included a call on the UN to include access to sport and physical education as an indicator in its human development indexes; a call for common evaluation tools to monitor the impact of sport on social and economic development; and a call on UN Member States to cooperate with, and abide by, the Olympic Truce.
Dr. Rosandich has seen firsthand the influence sports can have on nations throughout his long career. He learned the lesson early on working with 42 countries as an Ambassador of Sport for the U.S. State Department in the 1950s and 1960s, where he established a Sport Corps, which was part of the Peace Corps. He recruited volunteers for the first project in Indonesia. Dr. Rosandich noted many countries’ leaders participated in sports.
“Sports are key to nation building,” said Dr. Rosandich, an IOC Culture and Olympic Education Commission member. “It was very important then and it is very important now.”
Rogge said the IOC and UN have taken several proactive and concrete steps to promote peace and development through sport.
“It is not a question of whether sport contributes to the betterment of society; we are all in agreement that it does,” Rogge said. “The real question is how to make it contribute in more impactful, tangible ways.”
Secretary General Ban supports the organizations’ various activities around the globe in fields such as humanitarian assistance, peace-building, education, gender equality, the environment and the fight against HIV/AIDS.
For example, in Haiti the IOC and World Food Programme are working together to provide food, schooling and basic sports equipment (IOC Sports Kits) to children in some of the poorest areas of the country, which was ravaged by an earthquake in January 2010. And in Namibia, the IOC has teamed up with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to launch a three-year sport and education program for the thousands of young people living in a refugee settlement there.
“Sport has become a world language, a common denominator that breaks down all the walls, all the barriers,” Ban said. “It is a worldwide industry whose practices can have a widespread impact. Most of all, it is a powerful tool for progress and development.”
Other scheduled speakers at the 3rd International Forum on Sport for Peace and Development include: Hugh Robertson, Minister of Sport and Tourism of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland; Aldo Rebelo, Minister for Sport of Brazil; Mario Pescante, IOC member and Chairman of the IOC International Relations Commission; Sir Philip Craven, IOC member and President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC); and Wilfried Lemke, Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General on Sport for Development and Peace.
For more information on the event, please visit the IOC website.