Monday, July 14, 2008
Jackie Chan in Timor-Leste
On a recent visit with the young people of Timor-Leste, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Jackie Chan encouraged them to use martial arts as a peaceful, unifying force.
Timor-Leste, which received its independence six years ago, is one of the poorest nations in East Asia and the Pacific. In recent years, the country has descended into violence.
With it, martial arts, once a popular activity for Timorese youths interested in sports and fitness, have also suffered a setback,
with more and more young people applying their skills to acts of crime and violence.
Mr. Chan reminded some 3,500 young people gathered at the national stadium that “it does not matter what school of martial arts we are from as long as we are united. Training for martial arts helps you to strengthen your eyes, your mind and your body. When you have a good body and mind, let's help people. Don't harm them.”
The Government of Timor-Leste recognizes that strong youth-focused policies, as well as better education and employment opportunities, are critical to the country’s future. UNICEF is working with the government to protect and promote the rights of young people.