Monday, August 30, 2010

One Goal for the World Cup

By Gillian McLaren
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Amidst the Fifa 2010 World Cup Soccer fever, UN and South African dignitaries have come together to call out for development and peace, particularly achievable through education.

UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, spoke passionately on Tuesday evening about this inspiring cause at a gala dinner hosted by Sports for Peace at the women's jail on Constitution Hill just days before South Africa was to host the Fifa 2010 World Cup Soccer. Ki-Moon said that through the development and positive exposure to the world, Africa was the real victor of the World Cup.

He stressed that we need the co-operation and generosity of countries, major organisations and many individuals to achieve our collective goal of education for all.

President Zuma also spoke enthusiastically about this opportunity for South Africa to host the World Cup. He encouraged guests to use such a momentous and global sporting event to promote the United Nations’ education objectives,saying it was an "opportunity to leverage the popularity of football to ensure that daughters of peasants, children of mineworkers could overcome poverty and find their place in society."

He quoted former president Nelson Mandela who said, “Education is the most powerful way to change the world”. "Sport has the power to transcend racial and cultural barriers in a way that defines reason."

Sadly, Nelson Mandela himself could not be present, but sent a message to call every individual to be part of changing the world: "Education improves the chances of our children to lead better lives."

As an international advocate for women's and children's rights, Graca Machele also spoke on the importance of education, urging guests to reach the 30 percent of children who still miss out on an education in Africa.

She also stressed that gender inequality in education must be addressed and effective educational methods need to be implemented if we are to make any lasting impact.
Machele shared her hope that education would stand as a legacy of the World Cup, stating :Education brings liberty of mind and spirit."

Lend your voice to this campaign by signing a global petition to make sure everyone gets education, on or Facebook. 

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Gillian Mclaren Travel and Science Writer