Opinion

Joël Bouzou
Peace and Sport President and Founder

See all opinions
08/05/2016 par Joël Bouzou

Think globally, act locally: confidence in the potential of small sport projects

Peace and global change derive from initiatives or small projects that create a bonfire on a large scale. Leaving aside its size, each sport project has the potential to have a positive impact on the society. In this year’s edition of the Trophées UNFP du football I was pleased to see that every year there are more projects trying to do good through football.
 
At the last two editions of the Trophées UNFP du football -the annual awards organized by the National Union of Professional Football Players to French football actors- the Peace and Sport UNFP Trophy awarded football projects that promote essential values for the society such as respect, tolerance and peaceful co-habitation. This year, the winner project Chaque jeune à son plus haut [Each youth at its highest] organized by the US Pont Sainte-Maxence Football, serves as a great example of the transformative power of sport projects in communities, regardless of their size.
 
For the last couple of decades sport has been demonstrating its important role in the society. Sport’s universality and neutrality serves as a tool to spread a message of peace and to develop diverse communities around the world. As well, it is a mechanism to promote dialogue, foster teamwork and to teach young people important life values, such as hard work, tolerance and dedication. There are an astonishing number of sport projects that started as small initiative, idea, or a sudden urge to make this world a better place. Therefore, it is necessary to look in detail how the construction of peace is been achieved by sport.
 
Why small sport projects matter so much? I believe that peace is built on a daily basis. Great things start small. Most of us know that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. This firm belief can help us to understand that sport actors, athletes, clubs and federations need to start to cooperate step by step in the development of social projects. Even small sport projects or a single action have the potential to become catalyst for global change, policy innovation and creators of tolerant civil societies. 
 
Believing in the potential of an idea or a small project allows us to understand that it is up to us to light our own small fires in the darkness. Many people, including sport actors, athletes, clubs and federations do not believe they are capable of initiative, that it is too hard to change the current global issues. However, global change is often cumulative and depends upon several small moves forward not giant leaps.
 
As the educational projects Chaque jeune à son plus haut, Le foot c’est bien, l’école c’est mieux [Soccer is good, the school is better] and the Tournoi éco citoyen [Citizen Eco tournament], it is fundamental to recognize and admire the numerous sport projects, which transformed themselves from a small initiative or idea into a long and lasting program for the benefit of the humanity. Today more than ever, it is necessary for the sport world to think globally and to act locally but steadily.

Share this opinion