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International Day of Sport for Development and Peace on April 6th!







OTTAWA, CANADA (April 4, 2014) – Right To Play President and CEO Johann Koss gathered with Athlete Ambassadors and representatives of the Government of Canada at École Secondaire Publique Louis-Riel in Ottawa today for an early celebration of the first-ever International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, to be observed annually on April 6.


The event was marked by the announcement from Canada’s Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Hon. Christian Paradis, of a new $5.3 million commitment from the Canadian government to support the Right To Play project: Advancing Health, Education and Development for Children and Youth (AHEAD) in West and Francophone Africa.



“I am very grateful to the Government of Canada for this important investment in our work and its on-going support of the Sport for Development movement,” said Koss. “It is a true milestone to now have an official UN-sanctioned day to celebrate each year. The recognition of sport and play as effective tools for promoting education, health and peace has been elevated to a global level. We believe play has the power to change a child’s life. This is something Canada has understood and supported for years, and I am both grateful and honoured to mark this inaugural day here together.”

Right To Play has been a pioneer and global leader in Sport for Development for more than 13 years. A proud Canadian-based organization, it uses the transformative power of play to educate and empower children facing adversity. Working in more than 20 countries worldwide – including Canada – Right To Play reaches one million children through regular, weekly play programming

Right To Play was joined in Ottawa by Athlete Ambassadors and Canadian Olympians Rosie MacLennan (2012 London gold medallist) and Philippe Marquis (2014 Sochi men’s freestyle skiing), Ottawa—Orléans Member of Parliament Royal Galipeau, and more than 30 local students.

“As a Canadian athlete, I am so proud to have represented my country internationally,” said MacLennan, who has visited Right To Play programs in Liberia. “As an Athlete Ambassador, I am so proud to see the way my country represents itself internationally through such incredible investment in the power of play.”


The AHEAD project represents a one-year investment that will help Right To Play reach more than 235,000 children through critical play programs in Benin, Ghana, Liberia, Mali and Rwanda. It follows on a six-year (2007-2013), $20 million investment by the Canadian government for the Play To Learn program in West and Francophone Africa, as well as a $5 million commitment announced in January to establish Right To Play’s three-year Learning, Empowerment and Play project in Jordan, which provides educational support to local children and communities affected by the Syrian Crisis through play.  

About Right To Play
Right To Play is a global organization that uses the transformative power of play to educate and empower children facing adversity. Through playing sports and games, Right To Play helps children in more than 20 countries to build essential life skills and better futures, while driving lasting social change. Founded in 2000 by four-time Olympic gold medallist and social entrepreneur Johann Olav Koss, Right To Play is headquartered in Toronto, Canada and has national offices in Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, and regional offices in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America. Our programs are facilitated by 600 international staff and more than 13,500 volunteer Coaches.

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