HCA NEWS Lars Schmidt Grael appointed as HCA Ambassador

Olympic medallist Lars Schmidt Grael appointed as Brazilian Hans Christian Andersen Ambassador.

By ms - H.C. Andersen 2005 - 03 November 2004

On 1 November 2004, Olympic medallist and Brazilian Secretary of the Ministry of Sport, Youth Affairs, and Employment in São Paulo, Lars Schmidt Grael, was appointed as Brazilian Hans Christian Andersen Ambassador.

The ceremony took place at the National Theatre in Brasilia and was hosted by the Royal Danish Embassy in Brazil. Danish Ambassador to Brazil, Christian Kønigsfeldt, presided over the ceremony.

Lars Schmidt Grael is the third Hans Christian Andersen Ambassador to be appointed in Brazil and joins the ranks of public figures such as the soccer legend Pelé and the Brazilian Minister of Culture and jazz legend Gilberto Gil. As Hans Christian Andersen Ambassador, they are all three to promote the wider awareness and appreciation of Hans Christian Andersen in Brazil in connection with the bicentenary of the birth of the storyteller in 2005.

Furthermore, the Hans Christian Andersen Ambassadors are to lend their support to the HCA-abc Foundation, which is a humanitarian foundation addressing illiteracy worldwide in the name of Hans Christian Andersen.

Three of Hans Christian Andersen?s fairytales were performed at the ceremony. The performers were all diplomats from the foreign representatives in Brasilia. The proceeds from ticket sales were donated in full to the children?s home Casa de Moisés de Águas Lindas just outside Brasilia. The theatre performance was sponsored by the Cultural Secretariat of the City of Brasilia and a number of private sponsors.

Profile of Lars Schmidt Grael

Lars Schmidt Grael was born in 1964 in São Paulo, Brazil. His grandfather, Preben Schmidt, was Danish.

Currently, Lars Schmidt Grael is Secretary of the Ministry of Sport, Youth Affairs, and Employment in São Paulo but has formerly made his mark within the world of sailing. He has, for instance, been member of the Brazilian Olympic Team since 1982. Among Lars Schmidt Grael?s many triumphs are a Bronze Medal at the Olympic Games in Seoul in 1988 and one in Atlanta in 1996. In 1998, Lars Schmidt Grael suffered a sailing accident that cost him one of his legs. However, the accident did not impede his career. Apart from his professional career, Lars Schmidt Grael is involved in different charitable projects, such as The Grael Project, which was initiated in 1996 and aims at providing support for underprivileged children in learning to sail and create a better future for themselves.