UNESCO Director-General Signs UNESCO’s First Private Partnership Agreement in China with Ruby Shenzhen Football Club
UNESCO’s Director-General Irina Bokova signed a partnership agreement with the Shenzhen Ruby Football Club on 13 August, a first of its kind for the Organization with a private sector entity in China. The signing took place in conjunction with the Director-General’s participation in the opening of the Universiade, the international students games involving some 8,000 university students from 150 countries in the southern coastal city of Shenzhen.
Under the agreement, more than $1million will be provided by the Shenzhen Ruby Club over 4 years. The funds will finance a range of projects, initially including support for African artists, cultural and youth exchanges. These will be progressively expanded to include education, science, communication and media projects.
“We can easily adapt the motto of the Universiade games, ‘Start here - make a difference’,” the Director-General said. “We will make a difference by jointly promoting our message of solidarity, optimism, tolerance and human dignity, of respect for cultural diversity and the preservation of our tangible and intangible heritage. These are core values for UNESCO. We want them to be shared by young people. Sport is a wonderful means of passing this message, of convincing and involving youth so that they share the same values.”
Club Chairman Wan Hongwei said the agreement marked “a new beginning for the Ruby Football Club.” “We deeply agree with UNESCO’s mission to promote tolerance, cultural understanding and unity,” he said, noting that the Shenzhen soccer team counted five international players. “We hope to create a new platform of communication starting today, a platform for the exchange of education, science and culture,” he added.
Drawing attention to UNESCO’s Convention against Doping in Sport, Irina Bokova stated that “we fight for competition in sports without doping, with dignity, fairness and respect for others.” The Shenzhen football club, coached by Philippe Troussier (France), announced the partnership on large screens during a game played hours after the signing in a nearby stadium.
During her visit to Shenzhen, the Director-General met with Chinese President Hu Jintao, attended the opening of the World University Games and addressed the World University Presidents’ Forum, attended by the heads of 170 tertiary institutions from 80 countries and presided by Chinese State Councillor Liu Yandong and Education Minister Yuan Guiren.