World Youth Forum on Sport, Culture and Peace

Nanjing, China, 26 August 2014

World Youth Forum on Sport, Culture and Peace, Nanjing 2014

The World Youth Forum on Sport, Culture and Peace, held in Nanjing, on 26 August 2014, on the occasion of the Youth Olympic Games, is an opportunity for young women and men from across the world to stand up as leaders in responding to contemporary challenges and in shaping their own futures.

Organized by the Nanjing Municipal Government and UNESCO, this Forum reflects our shared commitment to recognize young women and men as agents of positive change and to support their engagement to strengthen lasting peace and sustainable development.

More than ever, we must craft new ways to support youth by leveraging the transformative power of culture and sport. These fundamental forms of human expression reflect values at the core of the Olympic Movement, which are essential for tolerance and solidarity.

Sport empowers young men and women and unites them around shared values. Culture, in all its diversity, acts as an enabler and driver for inclusive sustainable development. These ideas underpin the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022) that UNESCO is leading across the United Nations system. Our goal is to harness the potential of youth as torch-bearers for lasting peace and partners for more just development.

I can hardly think of a more fitting venue for the Forum than Nanjing, a city steeped in nearly 2500 years of history. The Strategic Partnership between UNESCO and Nanjing builds on this rich heritage to harness its power for city world heritage protection and regeneration and sustainable development. This reflects the global leadership of the People’s Republic of China. We saw this in May 2013, during the Hangzhou International Congress on Culture: Key to Sustainable Development. On 27 March, 2014, H.E. Mr Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, sent the same message during his visit to UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.

On this occasion, I wish every participant in the World Youth Forum fruitful discussions and I look forward to your conclusions.

Message from Ms Irina Bokova,
Director-General of UNESCO

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