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U.N.'s Annan Meets With Pres. Hinckley

U.N.'s Annan Meets With Pres. Hinckley



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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The historic meeting between U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and President Gordon B. Hinckley happened during a prestigious gathering of international visitors, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and film star Angelina Jolie.

They came to participate in a forum about a special program called Olympic Aid.

"We are highly honored to have this good, wonderful leader with us," President Hinckley said of Secretary General Annan. "What a tremendous work he's doing in trying to bring peace and goodness to the people of the world."

There was an exchange of ideas in a closed meeting, and then a public welcome as President Hinckley praised Secretary General Annan.

Secretary General Annan addressed an international audience gathered to discuss Olympic Aid, a non-profit program which vaccinates against diseases, educates about HIV, and brings activity to children everywhere.

"The right to play belongs to everyone," Annan said. "By the same token, development, health, peace are not spectator sports. They require committment and engagement by individuals, communities, as well as governments."

Sport can change the world, said Archbishop Desmond Tutu, speaking of athletes and apartheid.

"And one of the most powerful instruments for its (apartheid's) destruction was sport. When sports persons refused to play sports in South Africa and against South Africans... well, here we are, free," the Archbishop said.

Past and present Olympians volunteer in refugee camps to give children the freedom to play. One who has seen it says there's a great need for more.

"Forty thousand in this camp, and ten thousand in this camp, and they have nothing to do," said U.N. Goodwill ambassador and film star, Angelina Jolie. "They can't go home and they can't go outside the camp. And there's very little they can even be allowed to do in a lot of the camps. So they have absolutely no sense of purpose."

To renew Olympic Aid's purpose, the government of Holland made the largest donation ever, five million dollars, to the program's president, Johann Koss.

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