Barcelona, Spain – AWEPA Spain and the Olympic and Sports Museum Juan Antonio Samaranch pay tribute – through a unique exhibition- to Nelson Mandela, the man who led the struggle for human rights to reach South Africa and the African continent as a whole. Nelson Mandela’s life and leadership is linked to the world of sport and the Olympic Games, as one is now able to see in this space dedicated to him.
The “ESPAI MANDELA-AWEPA” will be a permanent exhibition in the Barcelona Olympic Museum. It will serve as a symbol of the union between sport, solidarity and human rights since Nelson Mandela fought against the Apartheid in order to consolidate democracy and the human rights across the African Continent.
AWEPA’s President and Minister of State Ms. Miet Smet and Hon. Josep Maldonado i Gili, Head of AWEPA Spain attended the Opening Ceremony of the ESPAI MANDELA-AWEPA on 23 March 2015, in the Auditorium of the Joan Antoni Samaranch Olympic and Sports Museum. Ms. Smet briefed the audience about AWEPA’s mission and programmes and Hon. Maldonado’s great efforts in the Spanish AWEPA Section.
More than 100 people attended the successful ceremony, including important figures from the Catalan Government, the Barcelona Provincial Council, the City Hall, Consular Corps, Spanish security forces and the Catalan Police Department, as well as the Chairs of different international, Spanish and Catalan sport federations.
During the opening ceremony, a moving video on Nelson Mandela and his involvement in sports was shown alongside background music played by cellist Mr. Ignasi Piera, who performed works including El Cant dels Ocells from the great Catalan compositor Pau Casals and a piece from Bach.
AWEPA President Ms. Miet Smet and Deputy Mayor of Barcelona Ms. Maite Fandos unveiled the inaugural plaque of the “Espai Mandela-Awepa” exhibition in the presence of Ms. María Teresa Samaranch, daughter of the late President of the Olympic International Committee, Mr. Samaranch, after whom the museum is named.
Nelson Mandela, who received the AWEPA Human Dignity Award in 2007, used sport as an element of integration in the struggle against apartheid.
In 1984 AWEPA was formed by European Politicians to work together with Nelson Mandela and the people of South Africa to end apartheid. When apartheid was overthrown and at Nelson Mandela’s request AWEPA continued working to consolidate human rights and democracy by strengthening international cooperation in Africa.
To achieve these goals, the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa (AWEPA) works in cooperation with African Parliaments to strengthen parliamentary democracy in Africa, to keep Africa high on the political agenda in Europe and to facilitate African-European Parliamentary dialogue.
“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers.”― Nelson Mandela
— #UnityStarstoEurope (@Unity_Stars) March 23, 2015