A United Nations official was today honoured in Germany for harnessing the power of sport to foster the social inclusion and well-being of people living with physical and mental disabilities worldwide.
The Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sport and Development, Wilfried Lemke, was granted the Bobby Award in Berlin, a German media award, named for Bobby Brederlow, a German actor who was the first recipient of the accolade for his contribution to social equality for people with disabilities.
Mr. Lemke said it was “an immense honour” to receive the award. “Both in sport and through sport, people with disabilities should not be marginalized but brought into the centre,” he said in his acceptance speech. “They are a tremendous enrichment for society and it is crucial to give them the very same opportunities as everyone else,” he added.
Within the scope of his UN mandate, Mr. Lemke advocates the greater use of adaptive sport and physical activity to foster inclusion of persons with disabilities in communities and society as a whole.
He is a strong promoter of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Convention, which entered into force in May 2008, is aimed at fighting against stigmatization and discrimination, and strengthening of the rights of the world’s estimated 650 million people with disabilities.
Mr. Lemke carried the Convention’s message to the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing and the 2010 Winter Paralympics in Vancouver, as well as to the 2009 and 2010 World Special Olympics in Idaho, United States, and his home town of Bremen, Germany.