June 5 - Ban Ki-moon, secretary general of the United Nations (UN), has been awarded an honorary 10th Dan black belt by World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) President Chungwon Choue to mark the 40th anniversary of the sport's world governing body.
The South Korean (pictured top) is only the third person in history to receive the 10th Dan honour, with late former International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Juan Antonio Samaranch and current leader Jacques Rogge being the only others to have accepted the award.
"The World Taekwondo Federation have many accomplishments to celebrate as they mark their 40th anniversary," Moon, who received the honour at the Third International Forum on Sport for Development and Peace in New York City, said.
"They have become a great example of the values and objectives that are shared by the United Nations and the Olympic Movement.
"Through its sporting mission and the development activities which it runs, such as the World Taekwondo Peace Corps, the WTF has done a great job in promoting youth education, gender equality, healthy living, cross-cultural understanding and international cooperation; so that anyone who wishes to participate can reach for their dreams in life.
"I would like to take this opportunity to extend my congratulations to the World Taekwondo Federation and its president Dr Choue on their 40th anniversary.
"I wish them a bright future as they continue their work in providing international cooperation and development toward peace through sport."
The World Taekwondo Peace Corps programme, the WTF's global campaign to promote the values of Olympism, continues this summer, with students from the Peace Corps being dispatched to 22 different countries, including East Timor, Papua New Guinea and Botswana to teach taekwondo's core skills and values to young athletes.
Since the programme was inaugurated in 2008, it has visited 93 countries across all five Olympic continents.
"I am delighted to have presented UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon with our prestigious black belt," Choue said.
"The black belt is a globally-recognised symbol of expertise across the martial arts and awarding it to the secretary general represents how strongly matched the WTF's values are with the United Nations.
"We both understand the enormous value to young people's lives by using sports to promote Olympism and a healthy lifestyle.
"Our approach to taekwondo is that it is a philosophy, a way of life, as well as an athletic pursuit.
"I think that this paves a harmonious path forward for future projects together."
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