Olympic Refuge Foundation

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Some 82.4 million people in the world are currently reported to be displaced, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 

Further to the success of the Refugee Olympic Team, in September 2017 the IOC launched the Olympic Refuge Foundation as the next chapter in its long-term commitment to supporting the protection, development and thriving  of displaced young people through sport, 365 days a year across the globe.  

The Foundation believes in a society where everyone belongs, through sport. Its goal is to shape a movement which ensures that young people affected by displacement thrive through sport.  

Working in cooperation with the Olympic Movement, the United Nations, international organisations, the private sector, non-governmental organisations and other foundations, the Foundation has supported  12 programmes in eight countries: Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Jordan, Kenya, Mexico, Rwanda, Turkey and Uganda, and new programmes will be launched shortly in Colombia and France.

The Foundation aims to provide access to safe sport for one million young people affected by displacement by 2024. Currently, up to 200,000 young people already benefit from sports programmes designed to improve their well-being and social inclusion.

The members of the Foundation Board share the dream of building a society where everyone belongs, through sport.

The Foundation Board members are:


Dr Thomas Bach, IOC President


Filippo Grandi, High Commissioner of UNHCR


HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al-Thani, President of the National Olympic Committee of Qatar;

Dr Chungwon Choue, President of World Taekwondo and Chairman of the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation;

Yiech Pur Biel, a member of the first Refugee Olympic Team at the Olympic Games Rio 2016;

Joe Gebbia, Airbnb co-founder and Chairman of Airbnb.org;

Anne Hidalgo, Paris Mayor and Chair of the C40 Cities Leadership Group;

Felicite Rwemarika, IOC Member;

Josefina Salas, Youth Olympic Games Young Change-Maker;

Paul Tergat, IOC Member.

Read their biographies here

The members of the Executive Committee are:


Christophe De Kepper


Pere Miró


Lana Haddad


James Macleod

More information

Foundation website

Visit the site

Sport for Protection

Sport for Protection Toolkit

Do you believe sport can play a crucial role in the protection and well-being of refugees and displaced young people? Download this toolkit developed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Terre des hommes (Tdh). You will discover how sport can empower young people and learn how to implement effective Sport for Protection programmes.

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