UN Special Adviser Wilfried Lemke Awarded Berlin Peace Clock

Berlin, UNOSDP- Press Release, November 08, 2011: Wilfried Lemke, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, tonight was awarded the 2011 ‘Berliner Friedensuhr’ (Berlin Peace Clock) by the Berlin committee of UNESCO.

Mr. Lemke was honoured on behalf of the UN for his unwavering commitment at the service of the world organization to mobilizing the power of sport to bring about international understanding and integration, and to combat poverty.

At a ceremony held in the atrium of the Deutsche Bank in Berlin, Germany’s State Minister for Culture and the Media Bernd Neumann praised the achievements of the recipient, declaring: “Wilfried Lemke stands for reliable action and continuity, but above all humanity. Away from difficult decisions, he never shrank, proving time and again his ability to resolve conflicts and build bridges.”

In front of an audience of more than 200 prominent figures from politics, sport, the private sector, and civil society, Mr. Lemke praised the United Nations for mainstreaming sport in its policies and programmes as an important element contributing to the work and objectives of the organization, in particular the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

“Receiving this award on behalf of the United Nations is a great honor for my Office and for me personally. It will give us an extra motivation to keep using sport as a tool for positive change all over the world,” an enthusiastic Lemke declared. “Using sport is especially important in situations where traditional political means have reached their limits.”

In a message read out at the event, the Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Ms. Irina Bokova, commended the leadership of the Special Adviser and the UN Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP), since its inception in 2001, in using sport to convey peace and development messages, especially towards young audiences. “Mr. Lemke has worked tirelessly to facilitate the social impact of sports on human development,” she noted.

Since 2003, the Berlin Peace Clock has been presented as an award from the Berlin Committee for UNESCO on the basis of the United Nations “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”, to individuals or institutions who “help to overcome barriers between races, classes, peoples, nations, cultures, ideologies, religions, political parties and individuals.”

Previous recipients of the Berlin Peace Clocks include numerous leading figures in world politics, world religions and world ethics including: Michael Gorbachev (1992), Ronald Reagan and Helmut Kohl (1992), Mother Teresa (1993), Professor Avi Primor, former Israeli Ambassador to Germany, for his commitment to bringing peace to the Middle East (2003), and more recently to Mr. Hans-Dietrich Genscher for his dedication to strengthening the United Nations and his commitment to the universal respect of human rights (2009).

This year, by presenting the Peace Clock to the UN Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, the Berlin Committee for UNESCO acknowledges and pays tribute to the powerful role sport can play in breaking down barriers and contributing to a more peaceful world.

The Berlin Peace Clock was originally created by Berlin jeweler Jens Lorenz and first set in motion the day the Berlin wall fell, on 9 November 1989.

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