Johannesburg, November 9, 2006 – Chairman Edwin Moses led fellow members of the Laureus World Sports Academy on an emotional visit to meet former President Mr Nelson Mandela, the Patron of Laureus, to update him on the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation around the world.
Among the Academy members present with Edwin Moses at the Laureus Academy Forum currently being held in South Africa were Bobby Charlton, Kapil Dev, Kip Keino, Franz Klammer, Nawal El Moutawakel, Ilie Nastase, Martina Navratilova, Morné du Plessis, Monica Seles and Daley Thompson.
Former President Mandela has been Patron of Laureus since the first Laureus World Sports Awards in 2000, where he was guest of honour.
At the Awards Ceremony, he fashioned the mission statement of Laureus when he told a worldwide TV audience: “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. Sport can awaken hope where there was previously only despair.” He reiterated this to the members of the Laureus Academy at their meeting.
Edwin Moses, Chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy told him: “You have inspired many people in your life, but you have a very special place in the hearts of the members of the Laureus World Sports Academy. In 2000 you came to the inaugural Laureus World Sports Awards and you gave us the raison d’être of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. As Academy Members, we have tried to live up to that creed. As a result there are now 45 projects helping young people around the world which the Laureus Foundation supports, including nine in your own country.”
Morné du Plessis, Chairman of Laureus South Africa, said: “The influence of Nelson Mandela on what we do at Laureus cannot be underestimated. Perhaps more than anybody he influenced us in realising that sport can play a role in changing society. His spirit has gone with us through seven years and it was wonderful today to be able to give him a report on what Laureus is doing. It was a special emotional and uplifting experience as always for us all to meet him.”
The Laureus World Sports Academy is a unique association of the greatest living sporting legends who share a belief in the power of sport to break down barriers, bring people together and to improve the lives of young people around the world. The visit to former President Mandela came on the final day of the Laureus Academy Forum in Gauteng – ‘The Home of Champions’.
The 2006 Laureus Academy Forum has been supported by the Gauteng Provincial Government and financial services company Discovery, country patrons of the South African chapter of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.
Morné du Plessis added: “I am delighted that the Laureus Academy Forum is being held in South Africa. I like to think that South Africa is a perfect example of what Laureus can do. We support projects throughout the country to help underprivileged young people, and we have the enthusiastic backing of the business community which makes our work possible.”
Ms Barbara Creecy, Gauteng MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation, said: “Laureus brings living sporting legends to the province to give coaching clinics to our young aspiring sports stars. This will encourage our learners to train and practice harder as they seek to emulate their heroes. Sport has a major role to play in creating a better life for our people and we warmly welcome the foundation and its activities in our country.”
Hylton Kallner, Discovery’s General Manager for Marketing and Distribution, said: “Laureus supports many projects throughout South Africa which provide positive alternatives to communities troubled by poverty and other social problems. It exposes people not only to the health benefits of participation in sport, but also to sport’s powerful ability to bring people together. Laureus is the perfect partner for Discovery whose core purpose is to make people healthier and enhance and protect their lives.”
Laureus is an independent non-political, non-profit organization that uses sport as the means to bring people together. It is composed of three core elements: the Laureus World Sports Academy, the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and the Laureus World Sports Awards. Collectively they celebrate sporting excellence and harness the power of sport to promote social change.
The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation addresses a broad range of social problems through a worldwide programme of sports related community development initiatives. Since its inception, Laureus has improved the lives of almost 150,000 young people.
For further information please contact:
Laureus Global Public Relations
Tel: +44 (0)20 7514 2749
Fax: +44 (0)20 7514 2782
Photo Archive: www.laureusarchive.com
Laureus South Africa Media Office
Tel: 021 – 422 1673
Cell: 082 496 8683
Photo Archive: www.laureusarchive.com