From 27 to 30 January 2013, Wilfried Lemke traveled to Pyeong Chang, Republic of Korea, to visit the Special Winter Olympics 2013. Lemke, who considers himself a big fan of the Special Olympics, was able to watch the young people compete in disciplines such as alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, figure skating, snowboarding and speed skating. Apart from the sport events the games included a global development summit focused on persistent issues for people with intellectual disabilities as well as a global youth summit.
Below you can find the UN Press Release:
United Nations Sports Envoy celebrates Special Olympics values and signs agreement with the host province of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics
PyeongChang (UNOSDP) – The UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, Wilfried Lemke, is in attendance at the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games. Mr. Lemke also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Gangwon Province, the province hosting the 2013 PyeongChang Special Olympics World Winter Games and the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games.
Yesterday, Mr. Lemke provided remarks at the Flame Unification Ceremony as a representative of the UN Secretary-General.
“I thank each of the athletes for their participation and courage, through which they contribute to our common mission to reframe how society views different abilities,” Mr. Lemke declared at the event.
Since he was appointed to the position of Special Adviser in March 2008, Mr. Lemke has been a strong advocate for a greater use of adaptive sport and physical activity as avenues for fostering the inclusion of persons with disabilities in communities and societies, and for empowering them. He has continuously supported and visited the disability sports family, including the Paralympic and Special Olympics movements along with grassroots organizations at the local level.
The UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, sent a greeting video message to the Special Olympics during today's Opening Ceremony. The Secretary-General stressed the values of Special Olympics, which are “about inclusion and the promotion of fundamental rights". He added: “I welcome the Pyeongchang Declaration which will highlight the Special Olympics’ role in advancing the Millennium Development Goals”.
Prior to the the Opening Ceremony, UNOSDP and Gangwon Province, the province of the 2013 PyeongChang Special Olympics World Winter Games and the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games, signed a partnership agreement seeking to support the attainment and awareness of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as well as to promote dialogue and mutual understanding through sport. One key objective is to promote inter-Korean harmony and contribute to world peace through sports by hosting the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games.
“Sport is a powerful tool for creating social change, and fostering peace and leaving a lasting legacy benefiting the local communities, the host nations and communities abroad,” said Special Adviser Wilfried Lemke. He continued: “It is very positive that the Gangwon Province has taken such a strong leadership. I look forward to working with them in order to realize the joint vision that we have developed, for the benefit of peace through sport in particular.”
On 30 January 2013, as representative of the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Lemke will take part in the ‘Global Development Summit’ to support the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Convention, which entered into force in May 2008, aims at fighting stigmatization and discrimination, as well as strengthening the rights of the world’s estimated 650 million persons with disabilities, including their right “to participate on an equal basis with others in recreational, leisure and sporting activities” (Article 30).
Photo 1: Special Adviser Wilfried Lemke (second from right), Mr. Moon-soon Choi (second from left), Governor of Gangwon Province, surrounded by Mr. Man-hee Shin (left), Director-General of Gangwon Headquarters for PyeongChang 2018, and Ms. Julie Lee, UNOSDP; © UNOSDP
Photo 2: Global Youth Summit; © UNOSDP