Olympic Refuge Foundation

Some 70.8 million people in the world were reported to be displaced at the end of 2018, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

In September 2017, during its Session in Lima, the International Olympic Committee launched the Olympic Refuge Foundation to support the protection, development and empowerment of children and youth in vulnerable situations through sport. This initiative emerged from the strong and longstanding partnership with the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, which began in 1994.

Working in cooperation with the United Nations, international organisations, non-governmental organisations and other foundations, the Olympic Refuge Foundation will support projects across the world on two levels, to:

  • create safe, basic and accessible sports facilities in areas where there are refugees, a displaced migrant population or internally displaced people, where all children and young people can play sport and take advantage of sport’s multiple benefits; and
  • develop sporting activities that can be successfully implemented within these safe environments.

The Foundation will fund projects across the world thanks to the generous donations from Olympic Movement partners, governmental institutions and private donations. Financial support has already been received from the Qatar Olympic Committee and the Government of Liechtenstein.


The members of the Foundation Board were formally introduced during the first Board meeting on 11 December 2017 in Lausanne, Switzerland. They share the belief in the power of sport to make the world a better place and have concretely demonstrated it through their interest and experience.

The members of the Foundation Board are:


Dr Thomas Bach, IOC President


Mr Filippo Grandi, High Commissioner of UNHCR;
Mr Yu Zaiqing, IOC Vice-President;
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 Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation;
Mr Yiech Pur Biel, a member of the first Refugee Olympic Team at the Olympic Games Rio 2016;
Anne Hidalgo, Paris Mayor and Chair of the C40 Cities Leadership Group;
Felicite Rwemarika, IOC Member;
Josefina Salas, Youth Olympic Games Young Change-Maker.

Honorary Member

Jacques Rogge, IOC Honorary President

Find their biographies here.

The members of the Executive Committee are:


Christophe De Kepper


Pere Miró


Lana Haddad

Foundation website

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Sport for Protection Toolkit: Programming with Young People in Forced Displacement Settings

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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