Usme, city of peace through sport, will host a second edition of the Friendship Games
From 23 to 25 September, the 13th edition of the Friendship Games – Peacemakers will be organised by Cop Colombia International, under the patronage of Peace and Sport and with the support of the Usme City Council.
The second edition of the Friendship Games in Colombia will be marked by the participation of three athletes, including two Champions for Peace, who wish to support the country’s peace efforts through sport. Eliaquim Mangala, French international footballer, Honey Thaljieh, founder and first captain of the first all-female Palestinian football team and FIFA Communications Manager, and Marlène Harnois, Olympic taekwondo medallist and representative of the Champions for Peace club, will share their passion for sport and their vision of building a peace culture through sport with national institutions and families.
Numerous sports activities and inspirational sessions will bring together Usme’s sport for peace stakeholders, including peace facilitators and Peacemakers Project beneficiaries. A panel discussion on sport for peace with prominent personalities will take place on 23 September at Usme Town Hall and an exclusive documentary on the history of Cop Colombia International, narrated by Peace and Sport Vice President and football legend Didier Drogba, will be shown.
Peace and Sport President and Founder Joël Bouzou said:
“Since 2007, the Friendship Games have proven to be an effective programme for promoting sport as a tool for dialogue in communities affected by conflict. Using sport and its values in post-conflict contexts is an effective approach to building inclusive and peaceful societies, which is why Colombia is a particularly fertile ground for innovative approaches to peacebuilding. I would like to warmly thank Cop Colombia International for its work on the ground and the Usme City Council for its support to peace through sport initiatives. They are an example for Latin America and for the whole world!”
Eliaquim Mangala, international footballer, added:
“Sport is a symbol of peace and equality. These are the values that have followed me throughout my career. I have had the chance to meet people from all over the world, with whom I have been able to share, discover and unite. Sport is universal and intercultural; let us give it a place at the highest level to federate and create a space where peace and cohesion reign. I am very happy to accompany this 13th edition of the Friendship Games, which brings together all the assets to consolidate union and harmony, and I would like to thank Peace and Sport for this initiative and its daily commitment.”
Hugo Florez, Cop Colombia’s project director, said:
“In 2021, the first edition of the Friendship Games was a unique opportunity to engage and empower Colombian youth through sport and to strengthen our links with local institutions. The organisation of a second edition of these Games in Colombia, with the support of the Usme City Council, is an excellent opportunity to highlight the tangible impact of sport for development and peace in our country. Since the beginning of the Peacemakers project in Colombia, the use of the Peace and Sport Methodology and the support provided by Peace and Sport have significantly improved the quality and impact of our sports activities. We would like to thank the Usme City Council for its long-standing support.”
Dorian de Jesus Coquies Maestre, Mayor of Usme, added:
“We are very happy to celebrate for the second year in a row the Friendship Games in our beautiful district of Usme. This remarkable event has taken place in different countries around the world and for the 13th edition we are pleased to support and celebrate it in our district as the best tool to create spaces for recreation and peace through sport. This sports event is organised by the local NGO COP Colombia, under the patronage of the Monaco-based international organisation Peace and Sport and with the support of the Usme City Council. The use of sport as a tool for peace and reconciliation will be promoted in activities on 23, 24 and 25 September. We invite you to join us in celebrating this exceptional event of peace and coexistence.”
About the Peacemakers Project in Colombia
Built on a bottom-up approach, the Peacemakers Project relies on the support of 10 grassroots organisations across 3 continents that work daily to promote inclusion and peace through sport. Thousands of children have benefited from the programme over the past 18 months.
In Colombia, the programme has resulted in many achievements. 5 football clubs in Usme and dozens of educators are now using the Peace and Sport Methodology to transmit values, while the programme has benefited hundreds of children. Information and feedback from the field on the programme have enabled Peace and Sport to adapt the actions to the needs of the population and to start measuring the impact of sport-based initiatives in Colombia.