UN Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace to address Empower 2014…

The 450 youth attending the 6th EMPOWER Youth Conference 2014, will once again be privileged to have interactive sessions with distinguished speakers during the 3-day youth event, organizers from Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) have announced.

The 6th EMPOWER Youth Conference 2014 taking place at Qatar Foundation Student Center, Doha from 27th till 29th of March; will focus on Leadership, Service Learning and Global Citizenship under the theme “Sports for Youth Empowerment”. In particular, organizers will be integrating Sports, Environment, Skills Development and the Arabic language as key themes of the EMPOWER 2014 program.

Mr. Wilfried Lemke, Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace to the United Nations Secretary-General is providing a video message to the 6th EMPOWER Youth Conference 2014. Previously, Mr. Lemke met ROTA youth to share thoughts on Sports and Human Development.

Mr. Lemke, appointed to the position by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 18 March 2008, has acquired extensive experience in sports and politics. Previously, he had acted as the Senator for the Interior and Sport and the Senator for Education and Science in the German State of Bremen. He had also managed Werder Bremen for 18 years, and had been in charge of fundraising and initiating relief projects.

As Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, Mr. Lemke is responsible for promoting understanding and support for sport as an instrument for development and peace as well as encouraging dialogue, collaboration and partnerships.

Since the International Year of Sport and Physical Education in 2005, United Nations Member States have better understood the role of sport in development and peace in their national legislation and policies.

“I regret that I am not able to join this important event that truly empowers young people to take active roles in building communities and have a voice on global issues. I am pleased that ROTA has selected ’Sports for Youth Empowerment’ as theme for the Empower conference, as sport accurately has the power to change lives for the better especially for young people,” said Mr. Lemke.

“I would like to congratulate ROTA for sharing the same vision of the United Nations that sport can 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,” added Mr. Lemke.

Heading to the Empower 2014 conference, Mr. Lemke met ROTA youth and motivated them on the power of sport and physical activity in bringing together people from different social, economic, cultural and religious backgrounds.

“We have to use sport as a tool for development in all over the world, and NGOs such as ROTA, have been at the forefront in utilizing the power of sport to help youth inspire and invoke change in their communities,” noted Mr. Lemke. “Sport for Change is a philosophy we should all believe in. Use sport as a medium to create positive behavior, break down negative stereotypes and build positive attitudes”, he told ROTA youth.

Expressing delight over Mr. Lemke’s video message for the Empower 2014 Conference, Mr. Essa Al Mannai, ROTA Executive Director said:

“We are privileged to have the video message of Mr. Wilfried Lemke for the event. I am sure his message will definitely help in convincing young people to take leadership roles in addressing local and international developmental issues of concern to them especially in the area of Sustainable Development and Sports.”

“At ROTA, we firmly believe that sport is a great equalizer of humanity—uniting rich and poor, young and old. And the youth have the unique ability to inspire people who might not otherwise be reached. We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future,” added Al Mannai.

Following the success of EMPOWER 2013, ROTA will continue to invite regional youth activists this year. This will be a good platform for youth from different regions to network with the youth in Qatar; nine organizations from the United States of America, India, the United Kingdom, Lebanon and Qatar will take part in the conference and share their capabilities with Empower’s youth.

EMPOWER has gained a reputation for being the first youth led conference in Qatar to focus on equipping young people to take active roles in building communities and having a voice on global issues. The main aim for the conference will be to raise awareness and build knowledge and capacity to enable young people to take leadership roles in addressing local and international developmental issues of concern to them.

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