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April 3, 2006

Roger Federer

MODERATOR: Good morning. Unfortunately, the very first piece of business that I need to take care of, unfortunately, it falls to me to announce that Shakira will not be able to join us today. Of course, very busy schedule, so, we'll continue with the program with her in spirit today only. It is definitely a great day for UNICEF. It is obviously a great day for the children of the world. If you go to ATPtennis.com this morning you will see the words "congratulations, Roger Federer, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. But you will also find the news that Roger just yesterday won yet another tournament, the NASDAQ 100 (Applause) Open in Miami. He kept the appointment to be here today. Couldn't be more pleased. Very humbling to be here today and to help welcome Roger into the ranks of the distinguished UNICEF family.
You will hear more about Roger Federer in just a moment. His work began in November of 2004 when he launched the international year of sport and physical education with the Secretary General. You will also hear from Mr. Adolph Ogi, the former president of the Swiss Conferationk and now the leading international figure on sport and development who helped make this relationship that we are launching today possible.
Now, it's my honor to introduce our first speaker today who will make the announcement official, the executive director of UNICEF Miss Ann Veneman.
ANN VENEMAN: Good morning, thank you very much for that kind introduction. Thanks to all of you for being here this morning. I think this is the most people I have seen in this hall. So you are a big draw.
I do want to welcome all of you to UNICEF. We very much appreciate Mr. Ogi being here, of course, welcome our new Ambassador, Roger Federer.
Beginning with Danny Kaye in 1953, UNICEF's Goodwill Ambassadors have supported UNICEF's work and highlighted critical children's issues throughout world. Today it is my great privilege to welcome Roger Federer to those distinguished friends.
UNICEF's Goodwill International Ambassador Program focuses on true global personalities. They are selected because of their visibility, their special talents, and experience and most importantly, their willingness to contribute to UNICEF's work. Goodwill Ambassadors are chosen not only because of their name recognition, but also because of the respect in which they are held as genuine humanitarians.
Almost anyone with a knowledge of sports could probably tell you about Roger Federer's incredible accomplishments as a professional athlete. Indeed, we have no doubt that his status as a tennis superstar provides an excellent platform for him to be an effective advocate on behalf of children. But talent is not the only thing that sets Roger Federer apart from the rest of the sports world. Our interest in appointing him as a Goodwill Ambassador was inspired by his personal story, and the commitment he has demonstrated to using his fame to benefit children.
Roger's involvement in UNICEF actually began more than a year ago when he led a phenomenal effort in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean Tsunami to raise money for UNICEF relief efforts. With support from the Association of Tennis Professionals, a valued UNICEF partner, Roger brought together many of the world's Top tennis players for an exhibition at the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California. The event raised considerable funds for Tsunami relief. But it was also the beginning of what we hope will be Roger's long association with UNICEF. We have come to appreciate his deep concern for all people; especially the world's neediest children; his strong sense of personal responsibility and his belief that even children in the worst situations deserve a brighter future.
Roger has already established his own foundation in his mother's home country of South Africa, to provide schooling and meals for poor children and promote sports to children and young people worldwide. Perhaps what is most impressive is that Roger has done all of this and has risen to become the world's dominant tennis player at the young age of 24. He shares UNICEF's belief in the power of sports to improve both mind and body and to teach important life lessons about respect, leadership, and cooperation. His vision, his commitment and his energy will be vital as UNICEF increasingly uses sports to help achieve results for children, and strengthens our partnership with sports federations, corporate sponsors, athletes and others.
Our sincerest thanks to you, Roger, for accepting this role. We are confident that you will be a highly respected and effective Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF and more importantly, for the world's children.
We look forward to working closely with you in the years ahead. Thank you very much again.
It is now my great pleasure to introduce our next speaker. Adolph Ogi was elected to the Parliament of Switzerland in 1979 and to the Swiss Federal Council in 1987, a post he held until the year 2000. He was twice the President of the Swiss Confederation in 1993 and in 2000. In 2001, he was appointed the United Nations Secretary General Special Advisor on Sport and Sport Development and peace. At the time he said: "The creation of this new post shows that the UN has recognized the great rise and importance of international sport." Since then he has put action behind those words, working tirelessly to promote understanding of the role that sport could play in peace and development. He has brought people together from many sectors and many organizations to help identify opportunities for increased coordination and collaboration within the sport world.
He was also instrumental in helping forge UNICEF's relationship with Roger Federer. In fact, we like to say he is the Godfather of the relationship.
Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Adolph Ogi.
ADOLPH OGI: Thank you very much, Mrs. Veneman, Roger, ladies and gentlemen, good morning.
The children today will guide the world of tomorrow. To be able to guide the world in a better way, we need the best school of life, and the best school of life is sport. In sport you learn to win without taking (inaudible). You learn to lose without thinking that's the end. You learn to respect the opponent - maybe I don't agree with you, but I will always respect you. In the world of sport you learn to accept rules, to accept the decision of the referee, to accept fair play, integration, tolerance, discipline. Every young boy and girl should have the opportunity to make mistakes and to learn from those mistakes. Where can you make mistakes without consequences for your professional life? There are only two fields. One is culture. The other one is sport. If I am a member of a band I have to integrate, I have to train with that band, I have to perform with that band and the other one is sport. If I am a tennis champion - I am not a tennis champ, I am a skier - you have to respect your opponent. You have to accept the decision of the referee. You have to integrate, you have to accept rules. Ladies and gentlemen, every young boy and girl should have the opportunity to make mistakes and to learn from those mistakes to see how I react when I am under pressure; and learn from those experiences.
Today, you are really honored. Roger Federer is your great wonderful ambassador. He is the greatest tennis player of the planet and he comes from Switzerland. (Laughter) (Applause)
. Roger is a true humanitarian and today you can be proud to see such an appointment as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. Both Roger and UNICEF have been instrumental in promoting sport for the development of peace, sport for health, development and peace. Sport is not only for entertainment, But for quality education; for better public health; for economic and social development and for peace. We desperately need more peace in our world. I tell you here exactly, the politicians, economic leaders, scientific leaders, the media, the religious leaders have not yet achieved the most important goal -- to create a peaceful world -- so we need another instrument. That other instrument is sport.
Therefore, good luck, thank you once again, Roger, we are so proud and I am so proud to be your Godfather. Thank you very much (laughter).
. THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much. At the conclusion of the remarks Mr. Federer will be signing the agreement making everything official. And then there will be an opportunity for some photos and then questions from the media after that point. Now, standing in for Shakira and I will not sing "Whenever Wherever," it is my privilege to introduce the latest addition to the UNICEF family; one of the most dominant athletes of his time or any time, for that matter, as Mr.Ogi so eloquently pointed out. He's a native of Switzerland. He's the No. 1 ranked men's tennis player in the world. He has held that rank for 114 consecutive weeks. That's the third longest streak in history. In 2004 he became the first man since 1988 to win three of the four Grand Slam titles of tennis in a single year. In 2005 he was named the Laureus World Sportsman of the year. He is currently the defending Grand Slam Champion having won the Australian Open just in January as well as the US Open and Wimbledon before that.
He's truly a giant on the court and as we are learning, a giant in spirit. He's already humanitarian here today and we are proud to add the title of Goodwill Ambassador to his remarkable list of achievements.
Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Roger Federer.
. ROGER FEDERER: Well, thank you very much. I may have achieved a lot on the court, but I would also like to try to achieve more now off the court. That's one of my big goals in the future so I would like to thank Miss Veneman and Mr. Ogi for introducing me as the Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF and I am very, very honored and proud and it's really a privilege for me to continue this great tradition of UNICEF. I am inspired and humbled at the same time by these men and women and am fortunate to have this opportunity to join them in our current goal of creating a better future for children around the world. I have been lucky in life and able to pursue my passion for tennis. It's important to me to help the many children throughout the world who do not have the basic resources they need. My parents have always stressed the importance of giving back and I am fortunate to have the opportunity to do so with my foundation in South Africa - my mom being from South Africa, so it is one of my dreams to give something back to -- also off the court because I have been very fortunate to have made it in tennis.
I believe all children deserve the chance to make something of their lives. This is the mission behind my foundation which provides schooling and meals for poor children and promotes sports for children and youth worldwide. I had the opportunity to visit the South African Township last year to see for myself what the situation was like there and to see how my foundation has impacted the children involved. I learned so much and walked away even more inspired to help their cause. These children are so little but have so much hope, we want to give them school and the kids were singing and dancing welcoming me to South Africa. They had a shirt on with the motto: "I am tomorrow's future." They were so happy to see us there. And made me so emotional because I felt so welcomed. I visited children in the hospital and there were two-year-olds sitting in a crib with AIDS and they had no chance, they looked so cute and yet you ask yourself what can I do. It is like tsunamis don't happen every day, but I feel people sometimes don't know that we have a problem every day and I hope I can have a little bit of an impact to address those issues in the near future. (Inaudible) .
In my world as an Ambassador, I hope to work closely with UNICEF and the ATP to call attention of their plight. The partnership between the ATP and UNICEF, assisting children everywhere, or Ace like tennis, may be in its infancy, but has already shown how much can be done when we team up and put our heart and effort behind the cause.
I share UNICEF's belief about sports teaching important life lessons about respect, leadership, cooperation. I believe that sport can help overcome justice and build bridges between cultures and nations. As a tennis player we have a unique opportunity. We are given a chance to visit so many different countries and cultures and interact with people from all walks of life. It is our responsibility to connect with the real world beyond our sport; use our fortune to make a difference in the lives of those who most need it. If I can make a contribution to this, I am more than happy to do so and I am really, really looking forward to the future. Thanks very much.
Q. I was wondering out of all the things that you have done and accomplished, what is the one you are proud of?
ROGER FEDERER: On the tennis court?
Q. No, for children in need.
ROGER FEDERER: Okay, well, that's different. (Laughter).
I am very proud of my foundation helping the kids in South Africa, that really sort of makes me feel very good, but I am going to try to make it bigger, raise awareness more and more, and I will have an opportunity to do that worldwide with UNICEF now.
Q. Do you foresee any difficulty in juggling your schedule that you play with and doing the work as ambassador, how long do you foresee yourself serving in this role?
ROGER FEDERER: I hope this obviously is a long-term relationship. To be honest, there might be difficulties, but I am a very positive person and I plan my schedule very wisely and that I have enough time to prepare to have rest, to have time for media and sponsors and now for good causes more and more coming into the picture now. So I mean, in the near future I want to get right into my role as Goodwill Ambassador. That's what we are going to do in the next couple of days and weeks where exactly I can go and do.
Q. After winning back-to-back and Indian Wells and NASDAQ, you could have been doing so many other things today. Why was it so important for you to be here in person?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I am very proud to be Goodwill Ambassador, I thought it was appropriate to come here and okay, the schedule is hectic, but it is because I won a tournament. If I would have lost earlier, I would have had an easier schedule. (Laughter) So it is a great problem to have that I have this busy schedule and I was planning to come down here this Monday for a long time. So I knew that it was coming and for me it was the most important thing here today, to come to New York today.
Q. How do you plan to use this UNICEF platform and is there any issue you have really to make a difference with?
ROGER FEDERER: Of course, I have the great opportunity to be facing the media very often, so I am going to try to help them tell the people that we still need help. (Inaudible) it's not just with emergencies and so on in the past. It's ongoing. They have changed their approach and I am going to have the same vision as them; maybe do TV commercials, go see them in the field, (inaudible) and as much as I can do really.
Q. What is the first thing you hope to accomplish as the Goodwill Ambassador?
ROGER FEDERER: Like I said, right away get underway and go see the kids and whatever they want me to do to try to help. This is really my first priority right now and raise awareness throughout on the whole Tour right now. This is all I can do at the moment. Try to get a game plan going where and what exactly and where I can do it because I travel the world for eleven months of the year, so I think I will get plenty of opportunities.

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