United Through Sport Closing Conference

After four days of the United Through Sport and Bangkok, Sport Festival came to an end, the closing conference organised by the National Olympic Committee of Thailand and AIMS. The Ballroom at the Centara was filled with personalities and the keynote speaker was His Royal Highness Prince Faisal bin Hussein, IOC Member and President National Olympic Committee of Jordan. The conference was opened with IOC member for Thailand Khunying Patama Leewadtrakul an Executive Board Member of the National Olympic Committee of Thailand who welcomed all guests on their behalf. The IFMA Sport Director Ms. Charissa Tynan was the compare of the event and introduced the speakers of the conference.

The Deputy Minister for Tourism and Sport Mr. Ittiphol Khunpluem thanked everyone on behalf of the Royal Thai Government for making the United Though Sport Campaign an important part of the SportAccord Convention leaving a legacy behind for youth in need.

Rafaelle Chiulli President of ARISF spoke on behalf of GAISF and over 100 International Federations and organisations, outlining the importance of sport and society as well as the responsibilities of every stakeholder within the Olympic family.

President of FISU Oleg Matytsin congratulated each and every person who contributed to UTS and confirmed that FISU not only supports but contributed to the campaign, as we all have an obligation to work towards a better tomorrow.

The CEO of UTS Julia Govinden made a raw, highly emotional speech about the success of the campaign, the journey of the displaced children and she thanked everyone for their contribution to bring smiles to many faces. Mrs.Govinden gave a detailed report on other activities that ran during the convention week, especially regarding youth with different abilities.

AIMS President Stephan Fox reflected with passion on the week reminding everyone about our responsibilities and that the United Through Sport initiative will continue to work with its mission and vision. Mr Fox thanked all organisations not only for their support but also for their input which serves to benefit all youth.

His Royal Highness Prince Faisal went off-script detailing refugee issues around the world, highlighting the importance of Olympic humanity, whereby non-discrimination has no place in the sporting family. We are one. His Royal Highness then presented the AIMS President Stephan Fox with a special token of his appreciation and thanking him personally on behalf of Generation for Peace for all the work that has been done for the youth of the world. Mrs. Julia Govinden also presented a United Through Sport plaque to His Royal Highness.

Kit McConnell IOC Sports Director gave thanks on behalf of the IOC to all organisations and individuals promoting Olympic values. Mr McConnell stated the importance of the week as an inspiration showing what truly matters. He congratulated not only conferences but also the evocative and all-inclusive opening ceremony of the festival with over 100 children of mixed abilities participating.

Jochen Farber, spoke on behalf of the Olympic channel and that OCS is in full support of the UTS campaign. He stated that the opening ceremony, as well as various other clips from the festival, will be shown not only to promote the campaign but more crucially to promote awareness.

Champion for Peace Athlete Pascal Gentil spoke about responsibilities of athletes to advocate for social change, to stand up against injustice, discrimination and that the athletes of the world stand together for peace and cultural understanding.

The final speaker representing Right to Play Julia Schipper, who played an important role in the journey of the displaced children summed up in a very emotional speech presenting quotations of happiness and thanks from the children who traveled many hours to join the UTS festival.

The children had an experience of hope, pride and it was a chance for them to return to the camps and inspire thousands of others. Ms. Schipper also thanked everyone who contributed sport equipment to the camps signifying that the SportAccord Convention 2018 will leave a legacy behind long after the closing.