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May 25, 2005 Federer appointed Spokesperson for IYSPE 2005

- Press Release
in PDF.
25 May2005


The Swiss Tennis Champion is proclaimed the first Spokesperson for the International Year of Sport and Physical Education (IYSPE 2005) in recognition of the outstanding example he sets as a role model in sport and his foundation’s work in South Africa.

United Nations, New York, 25 May 2005 – Roger Federer of Switzerland, the number one tennis player in the world, has accepted the appointment of United Nations Spokesperson for the International Year of Sport and Physical Education (IYSPE 2005), announced Adolf Ogi, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace, at the UN in New York today.

The tennis champion, winner of the Laureus Sportsman of the Year Award for 2005, has pledged to cooperate with the United Nations to use of the power of sport to bridge cultural and ethnic divides and improve the quality of people’s lives. An example of his commitment is the Roger Federer Foundation in South Africa, which helps widen educational opportunities by funding school fees for hundreds of children, providing them with a warm meal each day and paying teachers’ salaries.

Roger Federer joined with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and his Special Adviser Adolf Ogi for the launch of the IYSPE 2005 at UN Headquarters in New York on 4 November 2004.

IYSPE 2005 seeks to encourage the use of sports to promote education, health, development and peace. "Sport can play a role in improving the lives of whole communities", said UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. "I am convinced that the time is right to build on that understanding, to encourage governments, development agencies and communities to think how sport can be included more systematically in the plans to help children, particularly those living in the midst of poverty, disease and conflict."

"Our goal, together with world class athlete Roger Federer, is to ensure that the value of sport for the achievement of human development and lasting peace is understood by all. Sport can make a difference in people's lives and Roger Federer is an excellent illustration of this difference and he is a model for all young athletes," said Adolf Ogi.

The United Nations has long acknowledged the importance of sport in society and has established strong ties to the sports world. Its agencies, funds and programmes have undertaken a wide variety of sports-related activities both to help improve the lives of poor or marginalized people and to call attention to pressing challenges, such as environmental degradation.

Initiatives range from projects to ensure that children in refugee camps have access to vital play and recreaction activities, to programmes to promote education by linking sports participation to school attendance and academic performance, to activities designed to create jobs at newly-developed recreational zones at sports facilities where the unemployed can receive vocational training.

In November 2003, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 58/5 recognizing the power of sport as a means to promote education, health, development and peace and proclaiming 2005 as the International Year of Sport and Physical Education.

For press queries, please contact:
In New York:
Richard Leonard, Tel.: (212) 457-1254, E-mail: richard.leonard@undp.org
or Karima Zerrou, Tel.: (212) 457-1075, E-mail: karima.zerrou@undp.org
In Geneva:
Michael Kleiner, Tel: (41-22) 917-2555, E-mail: mkleiner@unog.ch

For more information on the International Year of Sport and Physical Education (IYSPE 2005) and on the United Nations work in the area of sports for development and peace, please visit: http://www.un.org/sport2005

Photos: UN launches International Year of Sport and Physical Education during a November 2004 press conference in New York. L to R: Roger Federer, Adolf Ogi, Kofi Annan, H.E. Ali Hachani, and Margaret Okayo. By UN/DPI.
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