(September 25, 2015) --- World Taekwondo Federation President (WTF) Chungwon Choue on Monday addressed the United Nations at their headquarters in New York on the topic of a new humanitarian initiative, after which the WTF Taekwondo Demonstration Team performed for the assembled U.N. officials and some 700 young students from around the world.
In his address, WTF President Choue revealed his plans to create the "Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation," which will harness the power of taekwondo to promote physical fitness, respect and understanding in refugee camps worldwide.
President Choue was speaking on the “2015 U.N. International Day of Peace,” an event first proposed by his late father, academic Young-seek Choue in 1981. In his address, he outlined the WTF’s plans to assist the global community with the growing refugee crisis – a matter he had raised in a meeting with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on September 20.
The Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation will discharge teams of taekwondo instructors to teach the sport to young people in refugee camps around the world. The sport will not just keep them active, but also instill in them the taekwondo philosophy and values of Olympism. With minimal equipment requirements, taekwondo can be easily practiced in areas with little or no permanent sports infrastructure.
The plans for the foundation are still being finalized and the WTF is looking to officially establish it before the end of the year in the Olympic capital of Lausanne, Switzerland. A pilot project will be launched later this year in an as-yet-undecided refugee camp.
After his speech, WTF President Choue introduced the WTF Taekwondo Demonstration Team, which showcased the speed and skill of the global sport for the first time ever at the prestigious location. Following the demonstration, the team also taught some taekwondo skills to the participants who were amazed by the outstanding taekwondo techniques.
Speaking after his address, WTF President Chungwon Choue said:
“It was a tremendous honor for me to speak to the U.N. and present the WTF Demonstration Team, particularly on the International Day of Peace, which was proposed by my father in 1981. My father often said, ‘peace is more precious than triumph’ and it is for this reason that I know he would support our plans for the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation.
“The refugee crisis is one of the biggest issues the world faces right now and it is an issue we must face together. As IOC President Thomas Bach said, sport and the Olympic Movement should play a part in bringing humanitarian help to refugees. We believe that the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation will do just that and it is a concept we have been planning for some time. As a sport which requires minimal equipment, taekwondo is ideally positioned to help as it easily deployable and easily accessible to all. Taekwondo will bring hope and joy to young people in refugee camps, keep them active and promote our global values.”
After the ceremony, President Choue was invited to visit the U.N. Women Headquarters to discuss ideas on how to work with young people to promote gender equality and help young women to build leadership skills through taekwondo.
The WTF Taekwondo Demonstration Team’s performance at the U.N. was the first of a high-profile North American tour. After the U.N., the team is scheduled to demonstrate at the West Point Military Academy and the World Bank.