August 26 - Gwangju 2015, in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP), have successfully held their international youth mentoring programme, the EPICS Forum.
The forum was held in order to contribute to the development of youths and achieve world peace through sports with more than 600 in attendance, including Korean and foreign university students and other guests.
The EPICS Forum was designed to deliver the values of the Gwangju Universiade, EPIC (Environment, Peace, IT, Culture) along with the UN's Millennium Development Goals, and will continue online and offline until the 2015 Universiade takes place in Gwangju.
This year's forum began with a press conference attended by Wilfried Lemke, UN special adviser on sport for development and peace, and Kang Un-tae, Mayor of Gwangju city and co-chair of the GUOC, before UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon sent his greetings via video message.
"Sport is a universal language," Ban said in the message.
"It unites people and cultures and helps to build bridges for peace.
"It can be a powerful catalyst for social change."
"That is why the UN supports using sport to promote equality and social inclusion and help achieve the Millennium Development Goals."
Ban welcomed all in attendance and encouraged the participants "to listen, learn, exchange experiences and work together for a sustainable just and peaceful future", whilst also commending Gwangju 2015 for preparing the forum and helping the students to consider the role they can play in this matter.
Mayor Kang also urged the students to pay attention to the speakers as they are world renowned leaders in each EPICS field and will give inspiration for world peace and development through their sharing of knowledge and experience.
At the forum, Achim Steiner, secretary general of the UN environment programme (UNEP), former Kenyan world marathon record holder Tegla Loroupe, UN ambassador of sports, and Korean artist Lee Lee Nam were each appointed as mentors in the fields of environment, sports development, and culture.
Also, leading the world in the development of university sports, Stefan Bergh, vice-president of the International University Sports Federation (FISU), spoke to the students with the theme "leadership for the future" and talked about the importance of leadership through his own experiences.
Laima Janusonyte, the first female vice-president of the International Sports Press Association (AIPS), Jang Mi-ran, Olympic weightlifting gold medalist and chief director of her own foundation, and Ma Young-sam, the first South Korean Ambassador for public diplomacy, attended the forum and gave inspiring speeches to the students and talked about their personal experiences in their field of expertise.
During the forum, the 33 participants of the Youth Leadership Programme (YLP) joined and gave a presentation in front of all in attendance on the topic of sports development.
The North Korean participant, Choi Shin-young, also participated in the presentation by introducing the latest sports facilities and the physical development programme of her country.
Following the completion of the first offline forum, it will now be converted to an online forum where the students will receive ongoing mentoring.
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