Message of the President of the International Pierre de Coubertin Committee

Prof. Dr. Stephan Wassong
CIPC President
Cologne, September 2018

Event: The First African Youth Forum to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s 100th Birthday in 2018 and 5th Cape Town International Sport and Peace Conference and Expo
Theme: Nelson Mandela and the Power of Sport Be the Legacy in Sport and Life

On behalf of the International Pierre de Coubertin Committee, I am happy to address the hosts and all participants on this extraordinary occasion of the ‘Nelson Mandela Year’ celebrating the 100th anniversary of his birth.

I should like to take this opportunity to thank the Foundation for Sport, Development and Peace of South Africa for promoting the Olympic values of friendship, respect, excellence, joy of effort, fair play and balance of body, spirit, will and mind. We strongly support your efforts in advocating and facilitating an improved understanding and practice of sport thus contributing to development of tolerance and peace among peoples.

At the same time I should like to congratulate the establishment of the Pierre de Coubertin Committee of South Africa which we recognized in January of this year as one of our members. You have already made contributions to the work of the International Network of Pierre de Coubertin Schools through active participation of your students at our past Fora.

Our Committee places utmost importance on the promotion of the Olympic values, in particular through youths in bringing sport, education and culture together. This is in the spirit that Pierre de Coubertin would have wished. This is also the reason for the International Pierre de Coubertin Committee to establish in 1997 and celebrate the Pierre Coubertin International Youth Fora every two years. It is with great satisfaction that we welcome the 1st African Youth Forum being held in the land of Nelson Mandela which will help continue celebrating his legacy.

We remember today that The CIPC Honorary President, Prof. Dr. Norbert Muller, who is also the International Fair Play Committee member and Vice Executive Director of the Master of Arts in Olympic Studies in Cologne, had the honor to present Nelson Mandela with the highest international distinction for Fair Play, the Pierre de Coubertin International Fair Play Award, on 25 June 1997 in Pretoria.

Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modem Olympic Movement, rightly emphasized on many occasions that participation in sports is the foundation of man’s moral strength, and this, Nelson Mandela has experienced in his own long life.


He has throughout his life, and in the most convincing manner, embodied the spiritual foundations of the ideal of Fair Play. Through his personal convictions and unfailing dedication he has given the world and especially its youth a rare example of this ideal, an example that we can only hope will be emulated.

To young participants: You all represent the world in its diversity and richness. You will go back home with unforgettable memories and new friends with whom you will continue communicating and promoting Olympic Movement values with determination and perseverance for a better society.

At the end, I wish all present full success in achieving one of the main goals of this gathering which is to take Madiba’s vision for sport forward in 2018 and beyond.


It was an honor to join Mandela and his belief in ‘the power of Sport that can change the world’ and in his support of the Olympic Movement and the Olympic Truce both of which promote a peaceful society and a harmonious development of mankind.


Thank you Madiba!



Prof. Dr. Stephan Wassong
CIPC President
Cologne, September 2018