31.08.2009 -

Jacqueline Silva designated UNESCO Champion for Sport

The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, will designate Jacqueline Silva, the Olympic volleyball champion, as UNESCO Champion for sport, in a ceremony w on 1 September, at the Headquarters of the Organization (7 p.m., 7th floor).

Jackie Silva started her volleyball professional career at the age of 14, when she joined the Brazilian national team. In 1994, she was recognized as the best volleyball player in the world by the Association of Volleyball Professionals. In 1996, at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, she became the first Brazilian woman athlete to win a medal, alongside her compatriot Sandra Pires.

In 1999, after a brilliant sporting career first in Brazil, and then in Italy and the United States, the athlete founded the Jackie Silva Institute and the first Jackie’s Volleyball Club sports centre. The Institute was based on the conviction that sport can forge social ties among young people in Rio de Janeiro. Today, the Jackie Silva Institute has 49 centres all over the State of Rio de Janeiro, which operate in partnership with local authorities and NGOs. They aim to develop new talents and offer opportunities to vulnerable and underprivileged young people. Some 6,000 children and adolescents, aged from 8 to 16, are enrolled in the centres. As well as training in sports, the centres offer workshops and lectures on HIV and AIDS prevention, teenage pregnancy and drug consumption. Jackie’s Volleyball Club is a place of education for the citizens of tomorrow.

This designation is part of UNESCO’s efforts to promote inclusive education. Based on the universal right to quality education that combines learning and personal development, with a special focus on vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, this innovative form of education strives to develop the potential of every individual. Jackie Silva shares UNESCO’s belief that the values of sport are factors for peace and development. The athlete, who is a role model for young people, will plan an active part in UNESCO projects in education, especially in Portuguese-speaking countries.


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