“Using sport as a tool of peace”- is the principle statement of the non-profit organization Peace and Sport. From 6th to 8th December the 10th edition of “The Peace and Sport Forum” was held in Sporting Monaco. A purpose of the Forum was to bring together key people, who are driving change and bringing peace all around the world. Moreover, the event was carried out under the patronage of Prince Albert II and involved Heads of States, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and a founder of Grameen Bank, Muhammad Yunus, high-level athletes, and in particular this year, Ivorian footballer Didier Drogba who became a Champion for Peace and attended the Forum; also NGO’s and international organizations were well represented.
In the framework of the press conference, run on 6th December, president and founder of the association “Peace and Sport” Joël Bouzou highlighted the latest achievements of the organization.
“We are very glad to be able to bring the biggest actors into the Sport and Peace movement. Our action really has an international impact as we have already reached 43 million people worldwide. We are focusing on the promotion of peace and to use sport as a tool to make life better for the younger generation. Sport innovation and social transformation, this is the way to go. We need to realize that there are always innovative ways to create sports equipment to reach everyone who wishes to participate in sport and to be active”.
Ivorian footballer Didier Drogba, who recently has joined the movement launched by the association, says that after being a bystander of the Ivorian crisis in 2000 and civil war there, that started with a new phase of the crisis in 2002, he felt that the message of peace needs to be heard worldwide.
“I’ve joined Peace and Sport, because of the impact that crisis had on me. I saw war, loss of the closest people and identity problems; after this I felt that maybe my voice will be able to stimulate change. We all have a need to share and it’s so important to give an opportunity to young generations to dream. Sport has the power to bring us all together. No matter who you are, we all have the same purpose, living in peace and stability”.
Unifying the nations through sport is a crucial mission of Peace and Sport; that’s why a diplomatic kickboxing match took place between Russia (Alena Bashmakova and Aleksandr Popov) and Ukraine (Olha Dudchenko and Ivan Maidannyk) to demonstrate the uniting power of sport, where equality trumps everything else.
Among the speakers this year it is important to note the following ideological leaders: Jordi Cardoner, the first vice president of FC Barcelona; Yasir Khan, senior editor of digital video at Al Jazeera English; Irina Bokova, former Director-General of UNESCO; Jorge Casimiro, president of the Nike Foundation; Fatuma Adan, founder of Hodi; Hans Reitz, founder of Grameen Creative Lab.
Peace and Sport Awards
On Thursday, 7th December, as per tradition, there took place the yearly Peace and Sport Awards rewarding organizations and individuals for their contribution to peace and social stability worldwide through sports. Talking about the laureates, Khalida Popal, former Afghanistan national women’s team captain, received the award “Champion of the Year 2017”; she is known for transferring the message of peace using sport within her home country which is currently in war conditions.
The Diplomatic Action of the Year went to the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. HODI was named the Non-profit Organization of the Year. In turn, Federation of the Year award went to the World Badminton Federation (WBF).
GIZ received the award for Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative of the Year. For ‘Sport Simple Program of the Year’ “Welcome to Yorkshire” was honoured. “Ojo x Ojo Productions for El Partido de la historia” were outstanding in winning the Event of the Year. “Brussels Play 4 Peace” won the April 6 Initiative of the Year.
FC Barcelona Foundation was rewarded as the Foundation of the Year, and last, but not least, the Special Jury Prize went to Union Nationale de Footballeurs Professionels (UNFP).