April 6 – Carte Blanche for a Better World
“Time doesn’t erase memories. It gives them meaning. Four years have passed since the first edition of our #WhiteCard campaign. I remember every detail: Peace and Sport were looking for a way to become a partner of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace on April 6, created by the United Nations one year earlier, with the support of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). We wanted to mobilize the international sports movement through an online campaign. We were looking for a simple and accessible symbol of our action for peace through sport. We found it in the white card, a symbol of inclusion, equality and solidarity.
Right from the beginning in 2015, our Champions for Peace supported us. Tatiana Golovin, Laura Flessel, Christopher Froome and David Coulthard were among the first to post a photo of themselves holding up a white card on social media. Very quickly, the project achieved its target. Its impact and reverberations widely exceeded our expectations. In 2017, women’s ice hockey teams from North and South Korea gave a global dimension to the #WhiteCard campaign by posing for a photograph together – each team brandishing a white card – at the world championship ice rink in PyeongChang. A year before the two countries paraded together at the 2018 Winter Games, the Peace and Sport campaign had already opened a breach.
Last year, for its fourth edition, the #WhiteCard campaign grew even bigger, reaching more than 90 million people on social networks and involving 138 countries. It registered a record number of projects and initiatives on the April6 online platform. For me, this progress was as satisfying as the mobilization of the sports movement and athletes around the #WhiteCard campaign. No less than 850 projects and initiatives have been identified around the world to celebrate April 6th. In the field, close to communities, each of them makes their own contribution to the effort to raise awareness about sport as a tool for development and peace.
Every year since 2016, Peace and Sport has given an award to the most inspiring initiative registered on the April6 platform. The first award went to the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF). In 2017, Play 4 Peace in Brussels received the trophy. Last year, we awarded it to the Bahrain Ministry of Youth and Sport for organizing two events on April 6: “1,000 steps for peace” and “Color Run”, to raise funds to build a football pitch in the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan.
The #WhiteCard campaign has already reached the age of reason. It has established a place in the international sports movement. The movement has reached more than 90 million people on social networks since it began in 2015. This mobilization must not slow down. On the contrary, it has to intensify with more white cards shown on social networks and a growing number of local, national and international initiatives to celebrate April 6. The PyeongChang Winter Games brought some of the greatest and illustrative media coverage. In the field of peace, sport can succeed where politics and diplomacy fail. Provided that we tirelessly continue our efforts.
For this fifth edition, we took the lead by launching the #WhiteCard campaign on 19 March. Didier Drogba, Vice President of Peace and Sport, kicked off the campaign in the village of Pyla, Cyprus, during a one-day football event which brought together the island’s Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities on the same playing field. Around a thousand children came to the event, and they all held up a white card.
Four years after the start of our initiative, I couldn’t have imagined a better way to launch this year’s edition of April6.”