By James Crook

Hopes for a unified Korean team at the 2015 Universiade have been boosted by the news that North Korean youths will attend the YLP in GwangjuAugust 19 - North Korea has officially confirmed it will send participants to the United Nations Office of Sport for Development and Peace's (UNOSDP) Youth Leadership Programme (YLP), jointly hosted by Gwangju 2015, marking a significant step on the road to a unified Korean team at the 2015 Summer Universiade.

North Korea has sent a list of four participants - three youths and a leader - for the event being held in the South Korean city of Gwangju this week, which will see the first official meeting of young people from the two nations.

Not only will this mark the resumption of inter-Korean sports exchanges after its discontinuation in 2008, but it is also seen as a green light for the formation of a united Korean team at the Gwangju 2015 Summer Universiade.

Wilfried Lemke, the UN special advisor on sport for development and peace, visited North Korea last month and formally requested that the country's youths take part in the YLP, and received a positive response.

During the YLP, the North Korean young people will take part in lectures on leadership skills, theoretical and practical training on sports, education, peace, and disabilities, along with many sports activities.

They will also experience Korean culture through activities such as trying on Hanbok (traditional Korean dress), making Korean food, and other traditional Korean activities.

The second day will see participants attending the Environment, Peace, IT innovation, Culture and Sport Development (EPICS) Forum and hear from world renowned leaders in each field.

Lemke is one of the speakers for the EPICS Forum, along with UN ambassador of sport Tegla Loroupe, International University Sports Federation (FISU) vice-President Stefan Burgh, International Sports Press Association (AIPS) vice-President Laima Janušonytė and Olympic gold medal-winning weightlifter Jang Mi-Ran.

The YLP will run from August 22 to September 3 at Honam University in Gwangju.

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