International Paralympic Committee President (IPC) Sir Philip Craven and three-time Paralympian Dr. Cheri Blauwet will both speak at a special event at United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York, USA, on Wednesday (15 April) to commemorate the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.
Hosted and opened by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, "United action towards sustainable development for all through sport" will be a high level interactive discussion moderated by international journalist and former CNN news anchor Ralitsa Vassileva.
The three-hour long event will feature speeches not just from IPC President Sir Philip and Blauwet but also IOC President Thomas Bach and Sam Kutesa, President of the UN General Assembly, Wilfried Lemke, Special Advisor to Secretary General on Sport for Development and Peace and former world No.1 tennis player Billie Jean King.
During his speech, Sir Philip, a five-time Paralympian in wheelchair basketball, is expected to highlight sport's unique ability to teach essential life skills and call for sport to play a more central role in education around the world. He will also stress how para-sport and the Paralympic Games in particular have developed a track record for delivering seismic shifts in attitudes towards people with an impairment and driving social inclusion.
Blauwet, a Paralympic gold medallist in 2004 in wheelchair racing and now Chairperson of the IPC's Medical Committee, will talk about how people with an impairment are one of the world's largest minority groups, yet remain one of the most stigmatised. Recalling her own experiences as an athlete she will focus on sport's power to turn stereotypes of disability on its head and para-sport's ability to provide role models for young athletes to aspire to.
The event will finish with a 30 minute questions and answers session from Member States, athletes, high level representatives of the sport sector and representatives of the United Nations system.
Wednesday's event aims to celebrate and raise awareness on sport's role as a tool for social change and peace. It will commemorate the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace by examining how sport has been utilised as a means to foster the development and well-being of persons and communities, such as children and youth, women and girls, and persons with disabilities through various local and global initiatives.
It will be an opportunity for a brief summation of the progress achieved thus far in line with the Millennium Development Goals and to cast light on sport's role and presence in the attainment of the Post-2015 Development Agenda.