by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Theme for the Forum is “how sport can help to foster sustainable peace”; it is part of the overall concept of the Peace and Sport theme of “for a better, fairer and more united world”.
Notably Thomas Weikert addressed the gathering, focusing on “Breaking barriers down through sport diplomacy” being a member of the panel which comprised Pal Schmitt (IOC Member), Juan Carlos Sainz (Peace University Dean), Afarin Shahidzadeh (Deputy Director – United Nations High Commission of Human Rights), Mohammed Hanzab President International Centre of Sport Security President), Honey Thaljieh (FIFA Corporate Communication Manager) and Pascal Boniface (Strategic Relations Director – Institute of International).
He showed a video which highlighted a range of topics in which the humanitarian element was the underlying theme.
The presentation commenced with the 1971 Ping Pong Diplomacy initiative when the United States Team visited China; a landmark event which facilitated a thaw in Sino-American relations and opened the door for Richard Nixon, President of the United States, to visit China.
Furthermore, the video presentation included such items as the United Korean Team competing in the 1991 World Championships in Chiba, in addition projects in such countries as Uganda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Memorably, in his role at the time as President of the German Table Tennis Association, Thomas Weikert was prominent in arranging for a group of players, coaches and officials from Burundi to visit the Liebherr 2012 World Team Championships in Dortmund.
Also prominently featured in the presentation made by Thomas Weikert was the 2011 Peace and Sport Cup in Doha Qatar, an event which two most notable names present at the current Forum attended.
Joël Bouzou, the President and Founder of Peace and Sport as well as Wilfried Lemke, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, were present
Pertinently also present in Monaco is Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General, who in 2008 appointed Wilfried Lemke to the office he currently holds.
An address by Thomas Weikert, later in the day Leandro Olvech was the speaker at a well-attended workshop and now both wait with an air of nervous anticipation.
World Table Tennis is shortlisted for an award at the Gala Dinner which takes place tonight on Thursday 24th November, proceedings conclude on Friday 25th November.
Reaching the four corners of the world