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62nd CISM General Assembly & Congress in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) - 2007

Meeting in a FRIENDLY and WARM atmosphere

Ouagadougou, capital city of Burkina Faso, hosted the 62nd CISM General Assembly and Congress. At the heart of Western Africa, “The Country of Honest Men” showed great mastery in managing preparations for this most momentous event.

The hospitality and outstanding working conditions provided by the host nation enabled CISM to successfully complete all agenda items.

The 2nd annual session of the Board paved the way for the usual series of Commission and continental meetings, followed by the Congress and General Assembly.

Naturally, preparations for the 4th Military World Games monopolised considerable attention among all participants. Under the control of the Indian Delegation and with the support of Air India representatives, many pending issues were clarified.

Intense thinking also went into the selection of the Organising nation of the 5th Military World Games scheduled to be held by CISM in 2011. Indeed, both candidate countries met all statutory conditions and soBrazil eventually prevailed over Turkey in a contest characterised by both fair play and sportsmanship.

In choosing Brazil, the Member Nations of CISM provided America with an opportunity to hold the 5th edition of the Military World Games, thereby following Europe (Italy in 1995 and 2003, and Croatia in 1999) and Asia (Hyderabad in 2007) on the list of host continents.

The call for applications to host the 6th Military World Games in 2015 was launched in line with CISM’s ambitious project planning. It also illustrates our organisation’s good health and heralds a bright future.

Bosnia & Herzegovina joined CISM, adding yet more weight to the truly international status of CISM, now 128 Member Nations strong. The search for new Member Nations will now focus on Oceania.

A new competition will be added to the already long list of CISM sport events: the 1st CISM Winter Games will be held in 2009. Several candidates have already stated an interest in materialising this new ambitious endeavour spearheaded by our President.



The friendly welcome and human warmth displayed by our brothers in arms of Burkina Faso did not escape the many attending Member Nation’s delegations. Colonel Honoré Traore, Chief of Burkina Faso’s Delegation to CISM and member of the Board of Directors, thanked the Delegations for turning up in such numbers and expressed his satisfaction with the friendly atmosphere that characterised the event throughout. He also underscored the solidarity efforts and activities that marked this 62nd General Assembly. Indeed, CISM President General Gianni Gola took the initiative of presenting equipment to the Armed Forces of the organising Nation.

The cultural day organised at the end of the working sessions provided all participants with an opportunity to leave Burkina Faso with wonderful memories.

Colonel Traore was extremely pleased with the invaluable support afforded to military sport and his Delegation by the political and military authorities of his country.

In his activity report, Secretary-General Colonel van Meurs emphasised how important it is for CISM to cooperate with other international organisations including the European Union, the African Union, NATO, FIFA and the IOC. He also commented in his report on the growing quality of world, continental and regional CISM championships.



Mr Vodoz, Vice-President of the International Red Cross Committee (IRCC) and Mr Sonstone Y. Kashiba, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Sports in Africa (SCSA), both prominent speakers, took the floor during the inaugural session of the Congress. They discussed issues of mutual interest in connection with peace and societal development initiatives through sport.

Colonel Kalkaba, CISM Vice-President for Africa, presented another keynote speech focusing on the role and place of military sport in modern society.



Keeping up his effective lobbying for CISM recognition, General Gola went to the United Nations in New York on 22 January 2007. A date lettered in gold in CISM records. The groundwork for the recognition of CISM in a consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the UN has now been laid. The final recognition decision will be taken in July 2007.



His Excellency Blaise Compaore granted the Members of the Board an audience in the margins of the 62nd General Assembly and Congress.

This audience demonstrated the status of and support for sport in general and military sport in particular, in Burkina Faso. The President of CISM welcomed this and thanked the President of Burkina Faso for his tireless efforts in support of peace in the region. He glorified the dynamism of the country’s delegation and of the Liaison Office for West Africa (LOWA), based in Ouagadougou since 1994.

Colonel H. Kalkaba Malboum, CISM Vice-President for Africa, further recalled the strong mobilisation among military athletes from the entire African continent in support of CAMFOOT, the African Military Football Cup. A fitting tribute since President Compaore gifted the trophy of the competition – which bears his name – back in 1994.

The President of Burkina Faso, himself a former Chief of Delegation to CISM, was clearly delighted with the opportunity to remember his past as a member. He evoked several good memories including the inauguration of the LOWA Secretariat in Lagos, Nigeria, in 1981 and his own participation in the World Parachuting Championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the same year.

The President also expressed interest in women’s participation in CISM activities, a point which definitely thrilled Lt-Colonel Rinette Hulme (NAM), President of the Women in CISM Commission and also attending.



During the opening cocktail, Colonel (BF) Mamadou Djerma, Grand Chancellor of Burkina Faso’s Orders, decorated several CISM authorities. Four officers were made Officers of the Meritorious Order: Colonel Michel van Meurs, Secretary-General of CISM; General Serhal, Vice-President for Asia; Colonel Nylander, Vice-President for Europe; and Commandant Dorah Mamby Koita, representing Africa at the CISM General Secretariat. Four more officers became Knights of the Order: Colonel A. Therry, outgoing CISM Treasurer General; Colonel Morisod, CISM Director of Administrative Affairs; Colonel I. Diallo, Chief of the Malian Delegation and Commandant A. Biro Conde of the Guinean Delegation.

During the press conference, the Chief of the Iranian Delegation provided more detailed information about plans for a solidarity football tournament scheduled to be held by the end of this year in Tehran with Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan andIran as participating countries.



All seats on the Board of Directors of CISM are filled, the General Assembly having performed the required statutory elections.

For Europe:  Brigadier General J. Pucher (Austria), re-elected to the Board, and Colonel S. Marginean (Romania).
For the Americas:  Colonel F. Marcondes (Brazil), elected Vice-President and General D. Langton (Canada), elected to the Board.
Treasurer General: Colonel W. Vanvelthoven (Belgium).



Having been made a Grand Officer in the Order of Merit of CISM during the Opening Ceremony, the Mayor of Ouagadougou, Simon Compaore, welcomed the Delegates of CISM on the occasion of the cultural day. He thanked CISM for his award and then showed his audience the sights of the city he has managed over three terms of office since 1985. General Gola marvelled at the modernity and progress of this city of 1.5 million inhabitants.



There are a number of emblematic figures in CISM, beginning with Chevalier Raoul Molet, its Secretary-General for 32 years between 1954 and 1986. Well, Colonel A. Therry, Treasurer General of CISM, is one of them and so it was a very sad occasion indeed when the 62nd General Assembly and Congress watched him take his leave. Over the years, five Secretaries-General and three CISM Presidents have listened carefully to – and heeded – his management and organisational advice. He skilfully and dedicatedly served the organisation between 1986 and 2007.

He handed his duties over to Colonel W. Vanvelthoven (BEL), asking CISM to trust the new Treasurer General as much as it had trusted him during his terms in office. Made a Grand Officer in the Meritorious Order of CISM, he then took the floor with a lump in his throat. He was so moved that all he managed to say was “thank you” and “goodbye”.

With the departure of Colonel Therry, a page in the history of CISM was turned… though he will probably become a prominent consultant if CISM is to avoid losing the wealth of experience he accumulated over the years.



Solidarity is clearly one of CISM’s battle horses. The reason why our organisation tirelessly seeks to develop new sponsors and partners is that it wants to raise as much funding as possible to finance its solidarity programme.

And a growing solidarity programme it is assuredly, as illustrated by the four examples below:

-   Focused on the 4th CISM Military Word Games, CISM allocated the whole 2007 solidarity budget to provide the same opportunity for CISM member countries. After meetings, planning and negotiations CISM arrived at concrete actions in Ouagadougou, offering the first two tickets paid by solidarity fund to the Brigadier Gen. G. Mashingaidze Chief of the Zimbabwean Delegation, the first benefited country. These two promotional tickets were delivered by Mr Grupa, Regional Director of Air India, and partner on this entrepreneur. CISM intend to help more than 25 CISM member countries to be in Hyderabad marching on the MWG opening ceremony.

-    During the 62nd General Assembly, the first step towards a new “Military Sport Aid” project was made, when an Italian Military plane unloaded sports equipment in Ouagadougou given by famous Italian companies - Mondo- Technogym - Alenia - for the Armed Forces of Burkina Faso as a result of an initiative of President Gola that was much appreciated by the authorities of the host country.

-    Thanks to contacts initiated from Belgium by Adjudant Dirk De Vos, school equipment was shipped to Somdé de Kossoghin Primary School in Ouagadougou. A CISM delegation – including Colonel M. van Meurs, Secretary-General; Colonel Major Bouhaouala, President of the Solidarity Commission; Commandant D. M. Koita, African member of the CISM General Secretariat; and Adjudant De Vos, photographer and initiator of the project – visited this school accommodating 1,200 pupils to deliver supplies to school Director Pierre Sawadogo with the parents’ association attending. The Secretary-General then took the floor to encourage younger children to study, respect others and practice solidarity and sport.

-   In partnership with CISM, FIFA donated 350 footballs to Burkina Faso. It was the first time in its history that CISM conducted a solidarity action of such magnitude jointly with another international sports organisation. With this action, CISM delivered on its commitments: its openings toward major international organisations do bear fruit.



During the closing dinner, the President of CISM officially presented the Musketeer Trophy to Lt General Tuwei, Chief of the Kenyan Delegation to CISM, representing General Kianga, commander-in-chief of the Kenyan Armed Forces. For memory, this Trophy goes to high-ranking military authorities who distinguish themselves by their exceptional commitment to the military sports world and who propagate the CISM ideals throughout the world. The Kenyan Delegation – and through them the country’s entire military and sport establishment – received this award for creating the conditions for establishing in Nairobi the first CISM Regional Development Centre in Africa.



Chaired by Mr Yéro Boly, Minister of Defence, the Closing Ceremony provided CISM authorities with an opportunity to award medals to military athletes as well as personalities from the host country.

During his speech, General Gola paid tribute to the organising country’s political and military authorities. In particular, he thanked the Chief of Delegation of Burkina Faso and the members of the Organising Committee for their excellent work.

Like previous General Assemblies, this one took momentous decisions. No aspect was neglected: cooperation with international institutions, competition rules, selection of organisers for the next world games, etc.

Indeed, the 5th CISM Military World Games will be held in Rio de Janeiro in 2011. The President of CISM expressed his appreciation of the fair play that pervaded the room during the vote. Having warmly thanked Turkey for its candidacy, he congratulated Brazil for its victory.

Minister Yéro Boly enthusiastically mentioned the progress made during the Ouagadougou General Assembly. He voiced hopes that CISM would maintain and strengthen its solidarity programme in favour of less-favoured member nations. Finally, he thanked General Gola for the gift of equipment to the Armed Forces of his country and reiterated Burkina Faso’s commitment to the values of CISM: « Sport for Peace ».

So, the International Military Sports Council is slowly but surely on its way to its 60th anniversary; a constantly evolving organisation that has become a genuine sport institution enjoying the recognition of its peers.

Goodbye Ouagadougou and we meet again in Montreux, Switzerland, for the 63rd CISM General Assembly and Congress.


Commandant Dorah Mamby KOITA