United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Willi Lemke as his Special Representative for Sports and Development. Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier issued a statement welcoming this decision in Berlin today (18 March):
"I offer Willi Lemke my sincere congratulations on his appointment as the new UN Special Representative for Sports and Development.
As a sportsman and an experienced politician, Willi Lemke is a first-class choice for this position as sports advisor. His task will be to use the power and opportunities inherent in sport to help advance the United Nations' goals of development and peace throughout the world. His many years of experience in sport and politics will equip him with the skills he needs for this important activity. They will help him to involve the major sporting organizations in implementing the goals of the United Nations.
We are all aware of the role that sport plays – it generates excitement and enthusiasm and brings people together across cultures, languages and ethnic groups.
During the FIFA World Cup, we in Germany had first-hand experience of the positive power of sport and how it can help change a country's image abroad for the better. We now also have to tap the power and momentum of sport on an international scale.
I wish Willi Lemke a sure hand and every success for the tasks ahead."
The Federal Foreign Office recommended Willi Lemke as a candidate to the United Nations Secretary-General.
His application for the position of Special Representative for Sports and Development is part of the Federal Government's efforts to increase the number of Germans in international organizations.