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05 December 2019 | in Education

Sports and the United Nations, with a former FISU Young Reporter and Dream Together Masters student

SEOUL – The United Nations can be credited with the growing advocacy and changes made so far in women empowerment, public health, reduction in inequality, climate action, and enhancing the quality education around the world.


Certainly a lengthy list of heavy-hitting and essential mandates already, the United Nations, noting the growing influence of sports around the world, acknowledges and actively promotes sport as an enabler for sustainable development. Former Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon reiterated this point during his lecture with the current Dream Together Master class, graduate educational programme that traces its roots to Gwangju, South Korea earning hosting rights to the Summer Universiade 2015 event.


During his talk, Ki-moon urged the 7th Dream Together class to “become instruments of national and international change” and develop their skills as sports to be effective societal change makers.


Noting sport’s importance to the United Nations achieving its Sustainable Development Goals at the Seoul National University South Korea, Ki-moon encouraged students to challenge the leadership in their countries and communities to expand their opportunities and capacities to enhance to social development.


“Unfortunately, the world has not paid much attention to the capacity of the youth and this is an error,” Ki-Moon said. “During my time as secretary general, I established an office for the youth because I believed even then that youth empowerment should be one of the world’s priorities. I encourage you to challenge the leadership of your governments for the opportunity to expand your capacity as leaders, and you are not too young to lead with the right ideas.”

 The seventh class of the Dream Together Masters programme posed with former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon outside their lecture hall at the Seoul National University South Korea

Ki-moon also emphasized sports needs to be used to develop students, noting that as far back as 1978 UNESCO described sports and physical education as a fundamental right for all. Over forty years ago, UNESCO was upholding the power that sports had to strengthen social ties and networks.


The former UN Secretary General pointed out this is what the programme of the Dream Together Masters is after as well – building young leaders through advanced education in sports management. Ki-moon advocates that students and student-athletes continue learning intangible skills through sports in their prepare to becoming future leaders.

During his talk, Ban Ki-moon urged the seventh class of the Dream Together programme to become instruments of national and international change and develop their skills in sports as a means to becoming effective societal change makers 

“In the uncertainties of the world we currently live in, I believe that sports can serve as an important and particularly cost effective tool for building resilient healthy society and forging great values through dialogue, you have to look beyond yourselves and nationalities to be able to take up the mantle in the development of our world as a global society” Ki-Moon said.


With his current role as Chairman of the International Olympic Committee’s Ethics Commission, Ki-Moon is tasked with upholding good governance within both the IOC and the entire Olympic Movement. As his parting message, Ki-Moon said is he working to ensure the Korean government and other countries invest more resources into youth empowerment initiatives through sport.