First United Nations Sport Youth Camp Kicks off in DOHA

Doha, Qatar, Jan 09, 2012: First United Nations Sport Youth Camp, UN Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, Wilfried Lemke, today kicked off a 10-day leadership camp for underprivileged youth from nine countries in Sub–Saharan Africa and the Palestinian Territory.

Taking place in Doha, the ‘UNOSDP 2012 Youth Leadership Camp’ serves as a pilot project to empower 30 young participants to deliver sport-based social programmes and invoke greater change in their communities.

The goal of the camp is to further train the 30 young, self-made achievers, all of whom have already made significant contributions in the field of Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) through a variety of grassroots projects in their communities.

The initiative is lead by the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP), in close collaboration with the Canadian-based international NGO Right To Play and the Doha-based Aspire Zone Foundation. Nine additional sports organizations (including the International Paralympic Committee, the International Judo, Basketball and Table Tennis Federations, and Liverpool FC), the German development agency, GIZ, and six non-governmental organizations have lent their support to the project by identifying the participants, sending experts to Doha or making in-kind donations.

UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace Wilfried Lemke expressed his enthusiasm in regards to the project and the many organizations involved. “The United Nations has long understood the unique power of sport for change; but for change to happen, strong leadership is needed,” he declared.

“The UNOSDP 2012 Youth Leadership Camp provides concrete and practical leadership skills from some of the best leaders and experts in the field, in a truly collaborative spirit. This ensures that the lessons learned will guide these young leaders in their future endeavors,” he added.

The camp consists of 10 days of experiential learning, for which a unique curriculum was specifically developed, addressing themes such as health, gender, disability, education and peace. This is designed to allow the youth to reflect on the lesson at hand, to connect their learning to real-life situations, and to apply their knowledge to their communities.

“Our field of Sport for Development and Peace needs the energy and innovation that is found in younger generations. We are proud to support the UNOSDP and youth leaders with this essential initiative,” said Johann Olav Koss, CEO and President of Right To Play, who is also present in Doha.

The UNOSDP 2012 Youth Leadership Camp is being hosted at the renowned Aspire Dome in Doha, Qatar, a state of the art sports facility, which will provide an inspirational atmosphere for the participants.

“Aspire Zone Foundation is delighted to be working with UNOSDP and hosting this exciting initiative to improve the leadership of young individuals,” said Mr. Ivan Bravo, the Aspire Director-General.

The 18 female and 12 male participants will be joined by four youth from Qatar who have been identified by the NGO Reach Out to Asia (ROTA), giving the event a local element and exposing the youth to different cultures, backgrounds and innovative ideas. At the camp, each participant will develop an action plan, which she/he will take back home and implement in the local community with the support of the camp organizers and partners, ensuring the legacy of the project.

Reflecting on the initiative, UN Special Adviser Lemke said: “This pilot is a new starting point for the young beneficiaries of the programme. We want to give them now the opportunities they did not get before.”

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