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New UN sports adviser Willi Lemke
© dpa
Using sport's peacekeeping potential

April 15, 2008

Willi Lemke has been appointed as the new UN Special Adviser on Sport. "His task will be to use the power and opportunities inherent in sport to help advance the United Nations' goals of development and peace throughout the world," said Federal Foreign Minister Steinmeier, congratulating Lemke on his appointment.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Willi Lemke as his Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace to succeed Adolf Ogi of Switzerland. The appointment is initially for one year. Lemke is currently Senator for Interior Affairs and Sport in Bremen. From 1981 to 1999 he was manager of Werder Bremen football club, prior to becoming Bremen's Senator for Education and Science.

At a press conference on 19 March 2008 Lemke outlined his three main tasks: he will plan sport's contribution to United Nations peacekeeping and development activities. Specifically, it is a matter of establishing how sport might have a preventive effect, or how it might be used in a post-conflict situation, for example in order to "get traumatized young people back on track". In addition, Lemke will represent the UN Secretary-General in dealings with the major international sports organizations. Finally, he will analyze and evaluate all sports activities and projects being run by the United Nations today.

Using the dynamism inherent in sport

Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said: "We now also have to tap the power and momentum of sport on an international scale. Willi Lemke's many years of experience in sport and politics will equip him with the skills he needs for this important activity."

Sport has a vital role to play not least in the fields of conflict prevention, strengthening social cohesion and bringing people together across ethnic and other boundaries. Sports programmes have proved to be effective instruments for furthering stability and social integration following conflicts in fragile states.

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