» Young athletes to take floor at 7th World Conference on Sport, Education and Culture
30.11.2010 - UNESCOPRESS

Young athletes to take floor at 7th World Conference on Sport, Education and Culture

© UN Photo/Albert Gonzalez Farran

Jacqueline Silva, UNESCO Champion for Sport and Brazilian volleyball star, Natalie Du Toit, South African Paralympic swimmer, and Kirsty Coventry, Zimbabwean Olympic gold medallist swimmer, are among more than 500 participants signed up for the 7th World Conference on Sport, Education and Culture taking place from 5 to 7 December in Durban (South Africa). These athletes will join representatives of governments, UN agencies, universities and NGOs to explore approaches to development, intercultural dialogue and peace based on education, culture and sport.

"Giving a Voice to Youth" is the theme of this year’s Conference, organized by  the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in partnership with UNESCO. In line with the 2010 International Year of Youth: Dialogue and Mutual Understanding, young people, notably participants in the first Youth Olympic Games (YOG) held in Singapore last August, will have the opportunity to share their ideas and experiences throughout the event.

            UNESCO Deputy Director-General Getachew Engida and IOC President Jacques Rogge will speak at the opening ceremony on 5 December (5-6.30 p.m.). South African sports minister Fikile Mbalula and the mayor of Durban, Obed Mlaba will also participate.

            Discussions in plenary and parallel sessions on 6 and 7 December will focus on approaches to development based on sport, education and culture as an inseparable trio; defining values-based education; empowerment through sport engagement; education for sustainable development; how to develop a culture of healthy lifestyles; and sport as a model for education and integration, among other topics. Participants include Lambis V. Nikolaou, Chairman of the IOC Commission for Culture and Olympic Education; Brahim Oueslati, Chargé de Mission for the Ministry of Youth and Sport of Tunisia; and Princess Haya Al Hussein, IOC member and UN Messenger for Peace.

            The role of youth in promoting inter-cultural dialogue through sport will be examined in the UNESCO-led second plenary on 6 December (2-3.30 p.m.). Emphasis will be placed on the International Year of Youth and sport’s power and potential to mobilize young people, especially regarding racism and discrimination.

            The Conference will conclude with a youth caucus, “How sport plays a part in MY life”, at which young people will present their own stories.

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