Peace and Sport at the XVI World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates
From 2-4 February, Joël Bouzou, President and Founder of Peace and Sport, participated in the XVI World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Bogotá. After welcoming three of the four Tunisian winners of the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize at the Peace and Sport International Forum last November, this participation marks a new step forward in the Monaco organization’s development as well as in acknowledging the power of sport as a tool to build sustainable peace.
Mr Bouzou was invited to speak at the Summit by the permanent secretariat of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates and the Bogota Chamber of commerce. Throughout this event, Joël Bouzou stressed the importance of sport in building sustainable peace and as an instrument of conflict resolution. He met several eminent figures, including Mrs. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, of which Peace and Sport is a partner. Mr. Bouzou also had a formal meeting with the President of Colombia and Nobel Peace Prize-winner 2016, His Excellency Mr. Juan Manuel Santos. Both men had frank discussions on the pivotal role of sport in efforts to consolidate peace in Colombia.
Joël Bouzou also delivered one of the keynote Roundtable speeches of 4 February, entitled “Peace and Youth: a powerful source of energy and engagement”. In his address, Mr. Bouzou particularly highlighted the number and variety of field programs that effectively use sport as a tool for reconciliation and peace consolidation. He spoke alongside Tawakkol Karman (Nobel Peace Prize-winner 2011) and Lisa Clark, Vice President of the International Peace Bureau. The former President of Poland and Nobel Peace Prize-winner 1983, Lech Walesa also attended this plenary session and Joël Bouzou spoke to him about the need for governments to invest in sport as a powerful means to encourage youth to play their part in peace building.
On 3 February, Peace and Sport also held a workshop in partnership with the Colombian NGO Fútbol Con Corazón. Based on the theme ”Sport for Sustainable Peace: from theory to practice”, this workshop demonstrated that implementing sports programs can be easy and inexpensive, whilst generating significant long-term social benefits. Peace and Sport then went to Barranquilla to meet educators of Fútbol Con Corazón, which intervenes in 35 communities and benefits more than 4,000 children throughout Colombia.
At the close of the summit meeting, Joël Bouzou was satisfied with the message that he had passed to stakeholders in the world of peace: “I was really pleased to see so many young people and civil society organizations leading a new wave of community mobilization and political lobbying for peace.” At the national level, political leaders are increasingly aware that sport is a cost-effective and flexible tool to promote social change, development and reconciliation. I think that Colombia is a good example to illustrate how the values of sport are implemented in the field and can thus help to create the conditions for sustainable peace.”
Each year, the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates brings together winners of this award, high-ranking officials, organizations, students and university teachers in different cities around the world. Chosen for its ability to evolve and meet the challenge of peace, Bogota is the first city in Latin America to host this meeting. More than 20 Nobel Peace Prize-winners participated in this 16th edition.