International Day of University Sport

20 September

University sport has a very special place in the sporting world as a vector of human, social and civic values, fully integrated into the education of today’s and tomorrow’s citizens.

By putting sport at the heart of dialogue between teachers and students, the International Day of University Sport, celebrated by UNESCO and the International University Sports Federation, aims to promote these values among young adults and, through them, to society as a whole.

Dialogue, self-respect and respect for others, fair play and pursuit of excellence are all framing principles of student training. Education and sport need to be at the core of our societies, and this Day provides a forum to highlight the social role of universities and their curricula by making sport available to all and encouraging people to exercise regularly.

Celebration of this Day also provides an opportunity for UNESCO to reaffirm its commitment to individual and collective development through sport and education, as stated in the International Charter of Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport and the International Convention against Doping in Sport.

Message from the Director-General

The ideal of the University, contained in the very etymology of the word, aspires to the comprehensive development of skills and the acquisition of universal knowledge. This knowledge is not confined to the intellectual sphere: it includes knowledge of one's self, and knowledge of one's body, of its possibilities and limitations. This complementarity between mind and body, this balanced and harmonious development of the self, constitute the essence of university sport; they reflect the ancient wisdom expressed in Juvenal’s well-known words: mens sana in corpore sano.

Sport opens up new horizons and gives joy and satisfaction at all ages. When praticed in peer groups within the framework of the University, enhanced by its inclusion in a prestigious, institutional setting, sport is for young people, at a critical time in their lives, a formidable tool for individual and collective development. It promotes values as essential as fair play, respect, team spirit, responsibility and perseverance, and enriches in an inspiring way the students’ disciplines. It helps talents bloom, enables the discovery of new forms of play and interaction, and encourages excellence.

— Audrey Azoulay, Director-General

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