“A Healthy Basis for Future Activities and Sustainable Cooperation”

07/11/2011 08:00


The international conference Sport as a Mediator between Cultures is “a healthy basis for future activities and sustainable cooperation”, says Wilfried Lemke, Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace.


In the context of the conference´s aim to review past projects and discuss the future potential of sport for development and peace, Lemke continues:


“The practice of sport and physical activity teaches positive social values and life skills, such as: team spirit, respect, discipline, leadership, self-confidence, empowerment, tolerance and social integration. Sport and physical activity also have the ability to bring people together, facilitate dialogue and engage people in a process of cooperation and understanding.


In seeking peaceful resolution to conflicts, sport’s convening power can be successfully mobilized in order to bring opponents together on neutral ground, in a depoliticized environment where aggression can be controlled.


In other words, sport is able to succeed where politics sometimes fails in activating and connecting people. It should therefore be looked at as a possible entry point, as an equalizer, but definitely not as a standalone remedy for all social ills. Sport, on its own, does not bring peace as such and cannot solve a conflict. But it definitely has the capacity – when there is careful planning and preparation – to contribute to the creation of a constructive environment for peace to grow, for reconciliation to take place.


In Israel and the Palestinian territories, I witnessed first-hand how sport can be used as a very useful tool in improving the daily lives of the populations and bridging divides. Of course, advancing on the path towards reconciliation in the region is anything but easy. There are a great deal of prejudices that one has to fight, barriers one has to overcome. In the current political context, sport cannot perform miracles. We have to be modest and realistic. But positive change can occur from within the civil society, at the grassroots level.


Against this backdrop, I fully support every well-intentioned and apolitical endeavour aimed at advancing mutual understanding in the region and beyond. Therefore, it is my sincere hope that the conference will provide a platform for engagement of all stakeholders present in a Sport as a Mediator between Cultures productive and enriching dialogue, thus providing a healthy basis for future activities and sustainable cooperation.”


The conference will be held from 15-17 September, 2011, at Wingate Institute, Israel. It is organised by ICSSPE, the Ministry of Culture and Sport, the Ministry of Regional Cooperation, both Israel, and the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Germany, in co-operation with other international partners.


Researchers, practitioners and other international experts in sport and activity projects for development and peace will attend the event to:


  • Analyse how sport for development and peace has developed over the past years;
  • Structure the multifaceted contributions that are being made by practicioners, academics and educators;
  • Identify possible alliances with other areas of society;
  • Develop and plan strategic steps for efficient implementation of knowledge and experience.


Interested people, such as social workers, psychologist and sport scientists, as well as organisations from all over the world are invited to take part in the conference to jointly develop strategies for next steps.


For more information about the event, please click here


To register for the conference, please click here