International Olympic Committee to Make $100,000 Donation to Global AIDS Fund
International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch on Tuesday announced at U.N. Headquarters that the committee will donate $100,000 to the United Nations for the global fund to fight AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in developing countries. The announcement comes on the heels of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's pledge to donate his $100,000 cash award for the Philadelphia Liberty Medal, which he will receive on July 4, in what will be the first contribution to his proposed global fund (U.N. release, 5/8). Samaranch made the announcement during a ceremony in New York where he presented a statue that will be displayed at the United Nations "whenever an Olympic truce is in effect or is being discussed in the general assembly" (Agence France-Presse, 5/8). The Olympic truce is an ancient Greek tradition "that calls for a cessation of conflict during the period of the Olympics." Speaking to the Olympic Truce Foundation's Board of Directors on Tuesday, Annan said that the truce could offer a "neutral point of consensus, a window of time to open dialogue and a pause to provide relief to the suffering of the population" (U.N. release, 5/8). Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, vice president of the Olympic Truce Foundation, noted that UNICEF has used the temporary halts in hostilities manifested by the truce to inoculate "thousands of children against disease" (Agence France-Presse, 5/8). In his speech at Tuesday's meeting, Annan said, "The United Nations family has a long record of engaging the world of sports to advocate a wide range of causes. World-class athletes have lent their names and time to campaigns fighting AIDS and other diseases -- I am really grateful to President Samaranch for his support in the fight against AIDS -- drug abuse and poverty. Sport has been used to support education and expand opportunities for youth; to encourage community development in societies burdened by inequalities, poverty and the aftermath of conflict; and to ease the trauma and discomfort of refugees and internally displaced people" (
Annan speech text, 5/8).
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