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Right to Play: Sport for Development and Peace

Right to Play: Sport for Development and Peace


Olympic Gold Medalist and Right to Play affiliate Nikki Stone travels to Idaho to discuss Right to Play’s work in promoting development, education, health care, gender equity, and peace through the use of sport. Right to Play programs are currently ongoing in 22 countries; Ms. Stone recently visited Tanzania on behalf of the organization.

The focus of the visit will be on Right to Play’s mission: to use “sport and play as a tool for the development of children and youth in the most disadvantaged areas of the world. Right To Play is committed to improving the lives of these children and to strengthening their communities by translating the best practices of sport and play into opportunities to promote development, health and peace.”

The following synopsis developed from press releases issued by the UI Communications and Marketing Department; additional comments in italics

Aerial skiing Olympic gold medalist Nikki Stone incorporated aspects of the power of play, in an interactive session with an audience of 200 in the SUB Ballroom.

Stone serves as an athlete ambassador for Right to Play, an organization that utilizes sport activity as a peacemaking tool with disadvantaged children around the world. Right to Play started out in 1992 as Olympic Aid, while the transition was made in 2003 to include Olympic and professional caliber athletes to spread the message of sport development and international advocacy for children.

“I think it's so important for every child to have the right to play because sports can shape an individual's confidence, self-esteem, morals, strength, and physical and mental well being. With some children already going through such devastation in their lives, depriving them the right to play could deprive them of a chance to truly live a fulfilled life,” said Stone.

When Ms. Stone had attendees move the chairs away from half of the space in the SUB Ballroom, it was clear we were headed for a different kind of forum experience. After speaking to the audience, she had the group play many of the games Right to Play uses to build peace and promote AIDS awareness (among other things).