The International Day of Peace was celebrated on 21 September. This year, there was a particularly strong emphasis on sports-based projects for peace. A tribute to sport’s major role in reconciling communities through dialogue, mutual understanding, and encouraging education.
Monaco, 24 September 2012 - after the 2012 International Day of Peace, Peace and Sport would like to applaud the sports movement’s exceptional mobilisation and increasing contribution in celebrating this symbolic date. Even in the most volatile regions of the world torn apart by conflict and poverty, communities came together and took part in public civic events based on the values of sport.
Joel Bouzou, President and Founder of Peace and Sport, said: “The international day of peace has always been a high point in Peace and Sport’s calendar: a unique moment where sport acts as a major bond between communities around the world, bringing about joint projects, friendliness and, therefore, peace. But this International Day of Peace was far more than simply symbolic.
Thousands of people were brought together through the values of sport. As President of Peace and Sport, I am delighted by this initiative, which continues to grow and which today is a source of great inspiration for all involved in our movement.”
This year, more than 50 organizations and institutions around the world associated with Peace and Sport organized sports projects to celebrate the International Day of Peace. We give you a quick round-up of some of these events:
- In Cameroon, the 'MS' Foundation organized a huge multi-sport tournament for street kids with the slogan ‘sport for peace in society’. The Ministry of Sports and Education initiated a march for peace including Pygmies and people with disabilities.
- In Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, the Congolese Table Tennis Federation held a big tournament for orphans and LISPED organized a table tennis match for disadvantaged youngsters at the Stade Velodrome in Kitambo. In North Kivu, an area of great civil unrest, sports activities were held with the NGO SIFAV with the message "NO to war and tribal hostilities”. Sporting activities brought different ethnic groups and tribes together. And in South-Kivu, CFESDC organized an open day to present a peace through sport program.
- In Burundi, emulating the centres in South-Kivu, Gihanga and Gitega youth centres opened their doors to the public, demonstrated new sports and showed people how sport can positively impact peace in the region.
- In Côte d'Ivoire, on the Esplanade de la Sitarail in Dimbokro where clashes took place last year between pro-Gbagbo and pro-Ouattara supporters, a football match for peace and reconciliation mixing the 2 camps was organized by the NGO NKB. And, in the centre of Marcory (see photo), an open day was held
- In Zimbabwe, the ‘Tambai Zimbabwe’ association which works in Harare's poorest neighbourhoods organised friendly basketball, volleyball and netball competitions seeking to promote messages of peace and non-violence.
- In Togo, the Sports Ministry held meetings between young people to promote peace through sport.
- In Colombia, which is preparing for the next Olympics, the NGO Colombianitos organised events in seven cities: Medellin, Bogota, Cali, Bucaramanga, Sincelejo, Barbosa and Cartagena celebrated the same message "Sport is a tool for social integration" by involving youngsters in activities who are victims of violence, exclusion or who live with disabilities.
- In Timor-Leste, several associations (Hamahon - ACF - Comoro Youth Centre - Dili Experts - Number 1) held open days to promote their agenda for peace through sport.
- In Pakistan, "Play for Peace" held street cricket matches in Lahore and Peshawar to promote non-violence and fair play. The same day, just a few blocks further away, cinemas were burned down...
- In the Lebanon, 'Wolves RLFC' organized a rugby match to encourage young people to channel their energy into sport rather than into street violence.