IOC President Jacques Rogge arrived today in Africa on a tour to inspect sport projects and meet sports officials and government representatives.
His trip started in Rwanda where he visited the Gisozi Genocide memorial in Kigali before addressing participants at a Sport and Peace seminar. He told those assembled how sport can be a powerful tool in facilitating dialogue and promoting fair play and respect, especially among young people. The IOC has cooperated with the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Rwanda and UNICEF to support rehabilitation programmes for young people.
Sport for Reconciliation
Rwanda, with its young and predominantly rural population and tragic history of the 1994 genocide, in which Hutu extremists killed an estimated 800,000 to one million Tutsi and moderate Hutu, could hardly be a more appropriate location for such a seminar. Sport was used in the aftermath of the genocide to reconcile the different ethnic groups and restore peace in the country. This case study and other best practices from countries such as Somalia and Sudan, were presented at the seminar which was attended by more than 20 representatives from National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and National Football Federations of 10 African countries. Jacques Rogge was joined by Gen. Lassana Palenfo, President of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA), Rwandan Sports Minister Hon. Protais Mitali, NOC President Charles Rudakubana and Executive Secretary of the East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFAI), Nicholas Musonye.
New Community Youth Sport Centre in Burundi
After Rwanda, President Rogge will visit Burundi and Mozambique, where he will inaugurate a new Youth Sport Centre set up jointly by the IOC, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the government of Burundi, while in Mozambique he will attend the Opening Ceremony of the 10th All-Africa Games and the General Assembly of ANOCA which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.