15 July 2014

Values of Teamwork, Mutual Understanding ‘Important Far Beyond the Playing Field’, Secretary-General Says, at Olympic Committee Sport Centre in Haiti

15 July 2014
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Values of Teamwork, Mutual Understanding ‘Important Far Beyond the Playing Field’,

Secretary-General Says, at Olympic Committee Sport Centre in Haiti


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks during a visit to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) “Sports for Hope Centre”, in Port-au-Prince today:

C’est un immense plaisir pour moi d’être à Haïti et de visiter ces magnifiques installations.  Avant tout je voudrais vous remercier pour ce très beau spectacle.

Je suis surtout heureux d’être ici deux jours après le match captivant de la finale de la Coupe du monde, qui a une fois de plus montré à quel point le sport rassemble et inspire.

Il y a deux ans, j’ai visité le premier centre olympique pour le développement de la jeunesse ouvert par le Comité international olympique, à Lusaka, en Zambie.

Chaque mois, plus de 10 000 jeunes en fréquentent la piscine, les terrains et la salle de sport, ou y suivent des cours sur la gestion forestière, la biodiversité et d’autres questions écologiques d’actualité.

In just a few years, the Lusaka Centre has become a hub of activity that has not only strengthened communities within Zambia, but also forged closer ties among several African nations by hosting regional youth games.  Today, I would like to sincerely congratulate and appreciate President Thomas Bach and the international Olympic Family for focusing their attention on Haiti.

This “Sports for Hope Centre” is a welcome addition to the Haitian landscape.  It is a major new piece of infrastructure following the earthquake that devastated the nation four years ago.  It will provide athletes with high-level training conditions, and enable National Federations to improve the level of elite sport in the country.

But above all, the key beneficiaries will be the young people of Haiti, as well as schools and communities.  Youth will have a place to acquire skills and self-confidence that will benefit themselves and their communities.  People on the margins will have a place to belong again.

This Centre will also be an arena for promoting teamwork, fair play and mutual understanding — values that are important far beyond the playing field.

We can see yet again that sport goes beyond competition, beyond events such as the World Cup, and even beyond star athletes.  Sport is often performed by ordinary people from all walks of life, who practise in the streets, or at the beach, by boys and girls alike, young people and old, and by people with disabilities.  Sport is for all.

President Bach of the IOC and I continue to discuss how to strengthen cooperation between the United Nations and the Olympic Movement.  Our two families are working together more closely than ever.  We believe that sport can be a strong driver of social change, and we are determined to use sport to make a difference in the lives of those who need it most.

My hope is that we can create many more places like this one, where communities can improve the level of sport in their country and come together in a spirit of teamwork and shared purpose.

I wish all the best to the athletes of this Centre, particularly the young people who will fill these fields and facilities.  My message to you, particularly young people, is this:  Dream big.  Remain hopeful.  Be a leader.  Be a global citizen.  Help build a better future for Haiti and the world.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.