World Cup Boston 2010 Celebrates Diversity and Unite Local Neighborhoods

BOSTON (December 8, 2009) - When the FIFA World Cup begins in June 2010, the eyes of the international community will be focused on the incredible competition as it unfolds on the soccer field in South Africa. It will also turn its attention off the field to celebrate the host country's rich sporting life and inspiring political and cultural history, illustrating how it tore off the shackles of apartheid to transform into a multicultural democracy.

Drawing on South Africa's storied movement toward unity, and in honor of the World Cup games, Mayor Thomas M. Menino today announced World Cup Boston (WCB) 2010, an 18-month, multifaceted initiative that will bring the international spirit of competition and collaboration to Boston. WCB 2010 is a celebration of soccer and cultural diversity that unites members of Boston's various socioeconomic, community and cultural groups to foster a renewed sense of inclusion, interaction, and involvement.

Coordinated by South Africa Partners, a Boston-based nonprofit building strong relationships between the United States and South Africa, WCB 2010's city-wide programs include soccer tournaments, cultural fairs, exhibition matches, a community learning program, a summer reading program, a service learning project and a World Cup viewing party on City Hall Plaza. The campaign will bring communities together by leveraging the power of soccer, the world's most popular sport, to celebrate the diverse tapestry of cultures throughout Boston's neighborhoods, while highlighting their common ground.

"I'm thrilled that the City of Boston and South Africa Partners will bring World Cup Boston 2010 to our neighborhoods," said Mayor Menino. "The goals of the program -- to celebrate diversity, to build community and to educate ourselves and our children about the world and their place in it -- are responsibilities of any great city, and World Cup Boston 2010 helps us reach those goals by bringing sport, education, and community together in an entertaining and empowering way. I look forward to a year of celebration, civic engagement, and strengthening the social fabric of our city."

The pillars of WCB 2010 are education, culture and sports. On the learning front, the Boston Public Library will offer a Summer Reading Program, with soccer and South African themes, for students in grades K-12. A bookmark will recommend thematic reading, and teen mentors will work alongside branch librarians to offer WCB 2010 educational activities to Boston children in 10 branch libraries throughout the summer. The Boston Children's Museum will also develop an online African-focused curriculum for students in local afterschool programs, while WCB 2010's official interactive website, www.WorldCupBoston2010.org, will be a portal for learning about soccer, South Africa's people and history, and the teams competing in the 2010 World Cup.

Culturally, WCB 2010 promises a wide array of activities designed to encourage Bostonians of all backgrounds to come together to celebrate the rich diversity of their city. Together with the Boston Public Library, South Africa Partners will be putting together a city-wide film festival comprised of documentaries and dramatic features that highlight South Africa's history, leaders and captivating political transformation.

The Office of the Mayor and the Office of New Bostonians are planning a day-long cultural festival at Franklin Park this summer to celebrate the diversity of the City's communities, while highlighting the teams competing in the World Cup. The day will feature music, dance, food, and recreational soccer m