“The International Paralympic Committee has done excellent work over years to break down negative stereotypes and build positive attitudes."
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon praised the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) efforts to inspire the world and change attitudes toward people with an impairment during a speech on Wednesday (5 June) at the International Forum on Sport for Peace and Development at the UN’s headquarters in New York, USA.
The two-day forum was organised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the UN Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP), with the support of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). This year’s event had the theme of “Creating a Common Vision.”
Ki-Moon’s audience at the forum included representatives from the world of sport, such as IPC President Sir Philip Craven, IOC President Jacques Rogge, Brazil’s Minister for Sport Aldo Rebelo and UK Minister of State for Sport Hugh Robertson.
Ki-Moon said: “The London Paralympic Games inspired millions around the world.
“The International Paralympic Committee has done excellent work over years to break down negative stereotypes and build positive attitudes. It is important that we work to build societies where all people, no matter their disability, can enjoy the right to play sports – and live their lives - in safe, inclusive environments.”
Ki-Moon discussed how to enhance the relationship between sport and global development, talking about sport as a tool for peacekeeping, justice and fairness.
IPC President Sir Philip also spoke at the forum, sharing how the IPC’s vision of inspiring and exciting the world was fully played out in London in front of a record 2.78 million spectators and a cumulative global TV audience of 3.8 billion in over 115 countries.
Sir Philip said: “People around the world had fun watching high-class sport that simply wiped away any negative perceptions of people with an impairment from their minds.
“Not only is the IPC’s vision being spread at the elite level, but also at the grassroots level of para-sport, where the same spirit is being displayed in our Agitos Foundation development camps and nations which are developing National Paralympic Committees.”
According to post-London 2012 research:
• Two in three people thought there will now be a greater acceptance of people with an impairment*
• Seven out of 10 people with an impairment felt London 2012 was inspirational for them*
• One in three people changed their attitude towards people with an impairment^
• Two in three people agree the Paralympics delivered a breakthrough in the way people with an impairment are viewed in the country – up from a 40 per cent expectation in June 2010^
• Eight out of 10 people thought the Paralympics had a positive impact on the way people with an impairment are viewed by the public^
• Eighty-three per cent of Channel 4 viewers agreed Paralympics will improve society’s perceptions of people with an impairment
Last year the UNOSDP enhanced their relationship with the IPC, holding three Youth Leadership Camps for community workers at sport and sport development organisations in Africa and the Middle East. Further camps are expected to be held in future years.
Sources - * LOCOG and ^ Charity United Response