I am deeply honoured to receive this Olympic Cup Award on behalf of the United Nations.
I sincerely thank you for this powerful recognition of the talented, dedicated and selfless women and men of our Organization. They work around the world and they work around the clock for a better future of all the people. I accept this on their behalf with deep gratitude.
This is the second time that the United Nations has received this distinction. It is a sign that our partnership is growing even stronger.
The first time the United Nations received this Olympic Cup Award was exactly 17 years ago – so it has been one year for each of the Sustainable Development Goals! We have 17 Sustainable Development Goals; this is a very happy coincidence. But I know that President Bach must have calculated and waited until the adoption of these 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
I am not a numerologist but I take this as a good sign that we will collaborate to realize the visionary 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
My Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, Mr. Wilfried Lemke, has made dedicated efforts to advance the goals of the United Nations through sport.
I thank all the United Nations bodies that are leveraging the power of sport. We are collaborating with athletes to inspire children. We are making the Games more green. We are joining forces to use this massive, global celebration of the human spirit as a reminder of our common humanity. Thank you very much for this honour.
On a personal note, seeing this flame brings me back to when I carried the torch in the relay to the London Olympics in 2012 and the Sochi Olympics in 2014. That was truly an honour.
I admit I even trained before I carried the torch – because I did not want to run out of breath with such a critical mission!
It was an electrifying experience. The crowds were cheering. The helicopters were flying overheard. There was noise but passion and cheer. I carried the torch, like so many others, for the dream of the Olympic Truce.
Today, we pledge again to achieve peace through sports.