The Director-General visits Germany on the occasion of the UNESCO World Youth Festival

The Director-General visits Germany on the occasion of the UNESCO World Youth Festival

On 6 and 7 July 2006, Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, visited Stuttgart, Germany, on the occasion of the first UNESCO World Youth Festival.

Organized by the city of Stuttgart and the German Commission for UNESCO as part of the activities surrounding the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the Festival brought together over 2000 young people from around 70 countries to celebrate the ideals of friendship, peace and tolerance. The Festival drew particular attention to the role sport can play in promoting intercultural dialogue, highlighting the values of fair play and raising awareness of the fight against doping.

When addressing the Youth Festival, the Director-General referred to the World Cup as a powerful example of how sport can be a force for unity in diversity. “Over the last few weeks we have certainly witnessed magnificent displays of national unity and pride,” Mr Matsuura said. “We have also seen representatives from countries all over the world gathered together around a set of common values and goals. We have found – in a common enjoyment of talent and team work, of fair-play and integrity – an opportunity to rejoice in our shared humanity. As its motto promised, the 2006 World Cup has indeed been a ‘time to make friends’.”

While underlining that sport can be an important “vehicle for courage, integrity and comradeship”, the Director-General recognized that “sport can also be diverted for other, less noble, ends”. Mr Matsuura drew particular attention g to the threat posed by doping. “UNESCO takes doping extremely seriously, and has devoted considerable efforts to combating this scourge. In particular, we have developed the International Convention against Doping in Sport – which represents the first time that governments around the world have agreed to apply the force of international law to the fight against doping. Such governmental support is crucial; however, it is not the only support we need. It is essential for young people to join the fight. I appeal therefore to you – the athletes of tomorrow – to be vigilant. The cost of doping is not just physical or psychological. It is also ethical. Through sport we can celebrate our humanity; it is source of inspiration, which together we must work hard to preserve”.

In his bilateral talks with Dr Wolfgang Schuster, Lord Mayor of Stuttgart, the Director-General paid tribute to the long-standing relations between the city of Stuttgart and UNESCO: in 1993 the people of Stuttgart had received the UNESCO Fair Play Trophy for their enthusiasm, fairness and professionalism during the World Athletics Championships; and in 2002-2003, the city was awarded Honourable mention for Europe under the UNESCO Cities for Peace Prize.

During his stay in Stuttgart, the Director-General – accompanied by the Mayor, Ambassador Hans-Heinrich Wrede, Permanent Delegate of Germany to UNESCO, Ms Ute Ohoven, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, and Mrs Verena Metze-Mangold, Vice President of the German Commission for UNESCO– visited the international community centre “Haus 49” and Le Corbusier building, which is part of a transnational application for nomination to the UNESCO World Heritage List. Mr Matsuura also addressed the students of the Institut Dr. Flad, a UNESCO ASP School that participates in the Mondialogo School Contest.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokeswoman
  • Source:Flash info n°111-2006
  • 11-07-2006
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