UN-backed PEACE Conference and Expo to debut in Cape Town

UN-backed PEACE Conference and Expo to debut in Cape Town

The Cape Town PEACE Conference and EXPO coincides with a number of peace initiatives taking place in the city, including the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, Peace Runs and Relay events. 

The United National’s Special Advisor on Sport for Development and Peace, Wilfried Lemke, has officially endorsed the first Cape Town Peace Conference and Expo, being organized by the Foundation for Sport, Development and Peace in association with theSanlam Cape Town Marathon.

The Conference and Expo, which takes place on Friday 19 September at the Southern Sun Hotel Waterfront, has the theme “African Visions – Global Legacies: Sport and Peace”. Speakers include the UN Working Group Chair on Sport and Peace; Deputy Minister for Sport and Recreation, Gert Oosthuizen; and Minister for Cultural Affairs and Sport in the Western Cape, Nomafrench Mbombo.

“Since we’re celebrating 20 years as a peaceful democracy and because we’ve witnessed the power of sport to bring previously divided people together, we felt it opportune to not only align the Marathon with such a focus but also to jointly hold such a conference,”says the ambassador for the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon and Olympian long-distance medallist Elana Meyer, who will also speak at the conference.

The purpose of the Cape Town PEACE Conference and Expo is to create a forum that brings together various stakeholders to discuss how sport can be used as a vehicle to build peaceful communities. In addition, the initiative puts a strong focus on empowering young people by cooperating with schools, non-governmental organisations and federations in order to make youth part of other sports and peace-related initiatives, especially in the developing world.

One of the chosen beneficiaries for this year’s Marathon is Peace and Sport (L’Organisation pour la Paix par le Sport), a global initiative under the patronage of Prince Albert of Monaco that uses sport to educate young people affected by extreme poverty, recent conflict or a lack of social cohesion.

Lemke describes the Cape Town PEACE Conference and Expo as an example of a concrete application of sport as a tool for development and peace-building efforts. “The United Nations considers sport to be a powerful tool to promote education, health, development and peace. Sport unites people of all social classes, cultures, religions and backgrounds in a positive and educational way,” he says. “This year marks the exciting start of this initiative, which is dedicated to promoting awareness, and visibility of sport and peace for youth and communities.”

Other speakers include Goodwill Ambassador of the City of Marathon in Greece, Dimitris Kyriakides; Head of Group Corporate Affairs for Sanlam, Francois Adriaan; ambassador for the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon and Rugby World Cup 1995 winning captain, Francois Pienaar; and Olympian and Peace and Sport ambassador, Wilson Kipketer.

The Cape Town Peace Conference and Expo precedes the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, taking place in the Mother City in October. Cape Town is home to two of South Africa’s four Nobel Peace Prize laureates, FW De Klerk and Desmond Tutu.

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