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Paralympic sports - 23. March 2007.

First IPC Honorary Board Meeting in Bonn

Bonn, Germany - Today, members of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Honorary Board came together for the first time at the IPC Headquarters in Bonn, Germany. The Honorary Board met to discuss their goals and future steps to help to develop the Paralympic Movement, conduct advocacy to achieve equality for persons with a disability and increase the awareness and profile of the Paralympic Movement.

Said IPC President Sir Philip Craven in a press conference after the meeting: "I am very pleased that four of our seven Honorary Board members found the time today to participate in this meeting. It really has been a frank, open and constructive discussion on how we can all work together for the long-term benefit of the Paralympic Movement."

Her Royal Highness (HRH) Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein of Jordan met with Sir Philip, IPC Vice President Miguel Sagarra and IPC CEO Xavier Gonzalez. James Wolfensohn, former President of the World Bank also attended the meeting via video conference from New York, USA.

"Since my involvement in the 1980 Arnhem Paralympic Games, the Paralympic Movement has grown tremendously. I have always had a warm interest in the Movement, but the Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games were an eye-opening experience for me. It totally convinced me that I want to do my personal best for the Paralympic Movement", said HRH Princess Margriet after the meeting.

Said HRH Princess Haya: "First of all I would like to say what a great honour it is to be a member of the IPC Honorary Board. I am passionately interested in the work of this great organization and the principles of the Paralympic Movement are key messages from which all of us can learn and take inspiration. My fervent hope is that through this position I will be able to promote Paralympic Sport on a global basis particularly in my region, the Middle East."

HRH Crown Princess Victoria stated: "In 2005, I participated in an Paralympic School Day held in Sweden, which was lots of fun and very inspiring. It is one of the wonderful initiative the Paralympic Movement created and I am looking forward to working with Sir Philip and the IPC to further help young athletes to develop."

"I believe that the Paralympics have all the excitement and the drama of the Olympics in which I was proud to compete. But for courage and determination, for personal commitment and for emotional content the Paralympics are the gold medal winner", said Mr. Wolfensohn.

The IPC, as the global governing body of the Paralympic Movement, decided in 2003 to create an Honorary Board to allow leaders of society an opportunity to support the vision of the Paralympic Movement and to strive to maintain the issue of Paralympic Sport high on the agenda of the global community.

Currently, the IPC Honorary Board consists of seven members, including (in order of acceptance) HRH Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, HRH Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxemburg, HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, HSH Prince Albert of Monaco, Soprano Maria Guleghina, former World Bank President James Wolfensohn and HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein of Jordan.
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