Closing of a successful 13th edition of the Peace and Sport International Forum
The 13th Peace and Sport International Forum came to an end after an intense day of exchanges and debates and an unforgettable Peace and Sport Awards ceremony.
More than 50 high-level speakers from 4 continents, including Champions for Peace, deepened the reflection, along with more than 250 participants, on the topic “Sport is an answer for peace”.
Major players in the world of sport called on international decision-makers to use sport as a tool for transmitting the values of peace, based on its universality, its role models, and the actions of field players trained in the demands of everyday life.
The Peace and Sport Awards
At the beginning of the 2022 Peace and Sport Awards ceremony, H.E. Dr. George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia and 1995 Golden Ball winner, was awarded the Peace and Sport Special Prize by H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monacofor his commitment to democracy and reconciliation in his country.
The international tennis player Ons Jabeur, a source of inspiration for women and youth around the world, was awarded the Peace Champion of the Year Prize. She follows in the footsteps of French basketball player Rudy Gobert, Springbok captain Siya Kolisi, and international footballers Lionel Messi and Blaise Matuidi.
The winners of the other prizes are :
– Special Jury Prize: The International Cycling Union (UCI),which has set up solidarity actions in favour of Afghan women cyclists, enabling them to continue to practice their sport outside the country.
– April6 Initiative of the Year: Alfredo Harp Helu Foundation for Sport for its incredible mobilisation on the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.
– CSR Initiative of the Year: Les Eaux Minérales d’Oulmès for putting girls’ education at the forefront of its CSR roadmap with the ‘Empowering Girls through Football’ programme.
– NGO of the Year: 4-H Zimbabwe Foundation for its Sport for Peace and Tolerance project which aims to unite traditionally opposing community groups through the organisation of sports tournaments.
– Institution of the Year: Birmingham City Council for using the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games to strengthen links between communities from different ethnic backgrounds.
A moment dedicated to football, the “universal sport”
Organised on the sidelines of the World Cup in Qatar, the Forum had to mention the contribution of football, this universal sport, to building a culture of peace. In this respect, Maher Nasser, Director of the United Nations Communications Department, recalled how football can contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Several actors from the football world such as Jean-Emmanuel De Witt, General Manager of AS Monaco, and Laurent Prud’homme, General Manager of the L’Équipe group, also shared their vision and initiatives.
Live from Qatar, Didier Drogba, Vice-President of Peace and Sport, Nasser Al Khori, Executive Director of Generation Amazing, and Peace Champions Honey Thaljieh, Founder of the first Palestinian women’s national football team and FIFA Corporate Communications Officer, and Mutaz Barshim, Qatari Olympic Champion, discussed the legacy of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Peace through sport: from myth to reality
Throughout the sessions, several key elements for using sport as a tool for peace and for building the confidence of public and private investors emerged: capacity building, pedagogical support for peace educators, programme evaluation, and the development of an integrated approach.
In a context characterised by the resurgence of international conflicts, Staffan de Mistura, UN Special Envoy, and Pascal Boniface, Director of IRIS, recalled the contribution of sport to conflict prevention and resolution processes, as well as to reconciliation processes, by sharing concrete examples of “soft diplomacy” through sport.
From Layne Robinson, Director of Social Policy at the Commonwealth, to Julien Sorez, teacher-researcher at the University of Paris Nanterre and UNESCO Chair on the contribution of sport to development and peace, to Sophie Lorant, Director of International Relations at Paris 2024, experts highlighted the challenges and best practices related to the evaluation of the impact of sport for peace programmes at the community level.
The Forum was a stage for innovation through sport and the search for synergies, and resulted in the signing of a partnership between Peace and Sport and Saudi Sports for All (SFA), whose Executive Director Shaima Al-Husseini spoke at the roundtable on sport as a tool for promoting gender equity. This partnership agreement will lead to the implementation of a joint peace through sport programme focusing on the training of peace educators in the Middle East.
Joël Bouzou, President and Founder of Peace and Sport, said:
“This 13th edition of the Peace and Sport International Forum is a very special moment for me and I am delighted that so many high-level personalities have come together after two years of pandemic to reaffirm that sport offers solutions to the resurgence of conflict, division, and hate speech.
Fifteen years ago, the idea of peace through sport was utopian. Today, the recognition of sport as a tool for peace has accelerated and the actors of peace through sport are in a position to provide concrete solutions to the problems encountered daily by the actors on the ground. This demonstration by proof was the whole purpose of this 13th Forum, entitled ‘Sport, a response for peace.’
I would like to thank the actors of the peace through sport movement for their valuable contributions and for these rich moments of sharing and learning. Together, from the neutrality of the Principality of Monaco, we are committed to contributing to change. I look forward to seeing the collaborations that have emerged during this event grow.”