Compagnie Financiere Richemont SA
Some thirty years ago, whilst living in New York City, I had a friend who was a true sports superstar. He was constantly mobbed for autographs. I noticed that he took extra care giving signed posters to white kids. I asked him about the apparent favouritism. His answer: “Johann, if a white kid has my poster in his bedroom, he can hardly discriminate against the black kid in his class”. How true.
Ever since then we have strived to create and promote cross-cultural heroes. In South Africa we helped start Institutes and Sports Academies to promote sporting excellence. As a South African I have also witnessed first hand the profound role that sport can play in nation-building and reconciliation. When democratic South Africa was accepted into international sport over a decade ago many believed it would take years for us to be integrated. Since then we have confounded the critics, won major championships and hosted others. It is this same belief that led me to propose that Richemont help found Laureus and the Laureus Sport for Good.
Laureus Sport for Good Foundation believes that sport can change the way people look at the world. The true values of sport can bring together families, friends, nations – and on occasions, the whole world – in a way that no other human activity can.
Laureus’ passion is based on a simple truth: whoever you are, wherever you live, whatever your background; sport can give you the chance to be a better person tomorrow than you are today.
In a world of increasing tension between cultures and religions, we believe that sporting heroes can bridge the gap that other leaders of society are either unable or unwilling to do.
We believe that sport can help change the world. Sport represents the best humanity: determination, fellowship, teamwork and the pursuit of excellence.
This is a powerful message – one which I hope I can count on you for your support, playing your part to help change the world.