You are here

UN Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace Runs for UNHCR in Munich


UN Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace Runs for UNHCR in Munich

Wilfried Lemke participated yesterday in the Nike+ Human Race in Munich to raise awareness and funds for the UN refugee agency’s campaign, which aims to bring sport and education to refugee youth.

“The success of this unique running event is a powerful testimony of the power of sport to build bridges between people and to serve as a platform for the advancement of development goals and to achieve world peace. I would like to send my warmest congratulations and thanks to all the participants involved, not only in Munich, but throughout the world. Today, all have been ambassadors of sport as a catalyst for positive social change,” said Mr. Lemke after the race.

With over 15’000 participants taking part in the 10 km event, the Special Adviser joined Dirk Nowitzki, NBA Dallas Mavericks forward player as they crossed the finish line together at the Olympic Stadium in Munich.

The race, considered as the world’s biggest one-day running event, brought together the power of sport and music across 25 cities worldwide to inspire and connect runners from every corner of the planet, as well as to support one of three global causes: the UNHCR’s campaign, the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). is a UNHCR campaign providing sport and education to refugee children around the world. When the campaign was launched in June 2006, there were nine million refugee children in the world. Sadly there are more now: half of the 33 million people of concern to UNHCR worldwide are children.

Funds from the Human Race will be used to help refugee children in camps in Chad. There are now 230’000 refugees from Darfur living in 12 camps in Eastern Chad. More than 100’000 are children and 15’000 of them are currently out of school. UNHCR has opened 80 primary schools in the refugee camps to address this, but most of the classrooms need repair, or reconstruction. All 80 schools lack basic equipment, like blackboards, desks and chairs. Besides, it proves difficult to find qualified teachers - particularly with poor salaries on offer.

Two months ago, Mr. Lemke visited the refugee camp of Dagahaley, one of the three UNHCR refugee camps located around Dadaab, a small town 80 km away from the Kenya-Somalia border. He witnessed how sport can help persons in plight, traumatized by flight and violence, how it can provide them with a semblance of normality and how it can help them integrate and communicate.

Appointed on 18 March 2008 as the successor to Adolf Ogi, former President of Switzerland, Wilfried Lemke intends to build on the work of his predecessor in leading and coordinating the efforts of the United Nations system to promote understanding and support for sport as an instrument for development and peace.


Article type



Christopher Middleton


Monday, September 1, 2008 - 16:00

E-Newsletter subscribe