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Geneva diplomats experience Development and Peace sports initiative

18 May 2013
Geneva Group of Friends and YLP participants

Macolin, Swizerland (UNOSDP)- The Geneva Group of Friends (GOF) on Sport for Development and Peace made the trip to the Swiss National Sports Institute in Macolin. The purpose of the visit was to get to know the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace’s (UNOSDP) flagship sports development initiative (Youth Leadership Program(YLP)) in operation. The Group of Friends gained valuable information from the UN Special adviser on Sports for Development and Peace, Mr. Lemke and a selection of participants who shared their stories with the delegation.



The Geneva GoF is an informal group of Permanent Representatives to the United Nations in Geneva. The group serves as a platform to encourage dialogue amongst UN Member States and the UN system to integrate sport actively into their policies and strategies.

 As the first French language YLP, the unique setting in the Swiss Sports Institute in Macolin, serves as the perfect location to host such an event. Mr. Lemke took this visit as an opportunity to highlight the importance of sport development initiatives such as the YLP. The YLP is now into its second year and now hosting the fifth program. Under Mr. Lemke’s keen eye, the program will leap into 2013 and beyond.

 “The effort put in to making these events possible is an outstanding achievement. We have managed now for the fifth time to bring UN policies on sport for development and peace to the ground. This unique program is allowing young leaders from around the world to come and learn from the best in sport coaching and and leadership skills.”

 Through strategic partnerships, the YLP combines sport theory and coaching over an 11 day period. Organizational partners include the NGO, Right to Play and the Swiss Sports Federation (FOSPO).  During the GoF excursion they had a brief presentation from Mr. Remund, Director of FOSPO, where he explained the origins of the partnership and is delight at hosting such an event for the second year.

 Other partners include 361 degree clothing, inspirasport, swimsport.ch, International Judo Federation, International Table Tennis Federation, Play & Train, FC Basel & SCORT Foundation, FIVB Heroes, International Paralympic Committee & AGITOS Foundation and Peace Players International.

 The Geneva GoF took part in a tour of the Macolin facilities, and had the opportunity to view a practical training session with FC Basel. The delegation also had a chance to meet with three of the participants, Joseph Lukoo (Democratic Republic of Congo), Aissa Lamine Traore (Mali), Maguy Makanda (Democratic Republic of Congo). These participants provided an extensive presentation on their background and their objectives that they wish to gain from the YLP. The participants look to take their new skills home to their community to further promote gender equality and inclusion of those with a disability.

The three participants were very happy to see the delegation taking a great interest in their stories and their journey to Switzerland. Maguy was especially happy to meet the delegation.

 “It was such a great experience to present my story to the delegation. It is very important for me to know that my story is being heard by these people. I look forward to participating in the event and for the exciting future opportunities in my community.”

 The delegation was made up of representatives from Switzerland, Italy, Turkey, Spain, Romania, North Korea, Germany and Costa Rica.


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