BWB Africa

FIBA - Mutombo visits FIBA offices

GENEVA (FIBA) - One of the best big men of basketball and a true ambassador for the sport worldwide has visited today the FIBA offices in Geneva, Switzerland.

Dikembe Mutombo, the center for the NBA's Houston Rockets, made a stop on his way back from Zermatt, where he participated in the first Forum of Young Global Leaders, an initiative working in close cooperation with the World Economic Forum and the United Nations.

The Forum brings together outstanding leaders, aged 40 years or younger, who have committed to devote part of their knowledge and energy over the next five years to collectively work towards a better future. Drawn from a pool of 8,000 candidates from around the world, the 257 Young Global Leaders nominated in 2005 come from 69 different countries: 72 are from Europe, 62 from North America, 49 from Asia, 19 from the Middle East and North Africa, 18 from sub-Saharan Africa and 17 from Latin America.

They comprise 57 political leaders, including heads of state, ministers and parliamentarians. From the business sector there are 97 Young Global Leaders, mostly chief executive officers and successful entrepreneurs. The other stakeholders consist of 28 intellectual leaders, 27 societal leaders, 23 active opinion leaders and 5 cultural leaders. Women make up 30% of the entire group.

"We would like to integrate those Young Global Leaders into processes which will allow them to have a real impact on global affairs and to make sure that global decision-making preserves the interests of the next generation," said Klaus Schwab, Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

"The Forum of Young Global Leaders will be a strong force from all walks of life to shake up traditional thinking and to bring a bold, forward-looking approach to the world."

During their inaugural summit in Zermatt, Switzerland, 24-28 June 2005, the Young Global Leaders have assessed current and future trends, risks and opportunities both at global and regional levels. The goal is to develop global strategies and put forward concrete actions to be taken today in order to advance towards a better world in the year 2020.

Superstar Dikembe Mutombo is well known for his dedication to improving the health, education and quality of life for the people in his birthplace, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In 1997 he created the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation which is attempting to eradicate many childhood diseases that have virtually disappeared in developed countries while those diseases are still life threatening to children in the DR Congo everyday (view video here).

One major project of the Foundation is to build a new general hospital (Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital) in the capital city of Kinshasa.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the new hospital took place in Kinshasa on September 15, 2001. The $29 million project is scheduled for completion in June 2006.

Dikembe is a seven-time NBA All-Star, has been named four times NBA Defensive Player of the Year and plays currently for the Huston Rockets.

He wears size 22 basketball shoes, the largest in the NBA. He was born in Kinshasa, DR of Congo, and studied at Georgetown University, where he started playing basketball.

He speaks English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and five African dialects. He has received numerous awards for his outstanding contribution for charity and health caring initiatives, the latest one being the "Most Caring Athlete Award," from USA Weekend Magazine.

Dikembe leaves Geneva tomorrow for Argentina where he will participate in the Basketball without Borders Americas, an educational and instructional camp for young players from that region.