Tennis champ Federer named spokesperson for UN International Year of Sport
Swiss tennis champion Roger Federer has been named the first United Nations spokesperson for the International Year of Sport and Physical Education, in recognition of the outstanding example he sets as a role model in sport and his foundation's work in South Africa.
Mr. Federer, the world's top-ranked player and the Laureus Sportsman of the Year, has pledged to cooperate with the UN to use the power of sport to bridge cultural and ethnic divides and improve the quality of people's lives. His eponymous foundation in South Africa helps widen educational opportunities by funding school fees for hundreds of children, providing them with a warm meal each day and paying teachers' salaries.
"Our goal, together with world-class athlete Roger Federer, is to ensure that the value of sport for the achievement of human development and lasting peace is understood by all. Sport can make a difference in people's lives and Roger Federer is an excellent illustration of this difference and he is a model for all young athletes," said Adolf Ogi, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace.
The UN has long acknowledged the importance of sport in society and has established strong ties to the sports world. Its agencies, funds and programmes have undertaken a wide variety of sports-related activities both to help improve the lives of poor or marginalized people and to call attention to pressing challenges, such as environmental degradation.
The International Year 2005 seeks to encourage the use of sports to promote education, health, development and peace.