Opinion

Joël Bouzou
Peace and Sport President and Founder

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06/01/2020 par Joël Bouzou

“The Forum has grown greatly in Monaco”

“Odd-numbered years have been good to us. They have written Peace and Sport’s history in capital letters. Our organization was created in 2007. Two years later, we started the Friendship Games in Africa and we launched the Champions for Peace club. In 2019, the 12th International Peace and Sport Forum marked a new phase in our story. From 11 – 13 December in Monaco, it showed decisive signs of maturity.

This step and this progress cannot be adequately described in words. They can best be witnessed through concrete actions. The International Forum in Monaco was the opportunity for our Champions for Peace to present their manifesto during their 10th anniversary celebration on 11th December. The athletes selected ten proposals intended to use sport to contribute to a better world. They are tangible suggestions, anchored in the realities of society, its uses and its evolution. They also fit into the logic of the sports and associative movements and institutions. The Champions for Peace manifesto is already a priority in our roadmap for the coming decade. It will be one of our driving themes.

On the second day of the Forum, the press conference resolutely positioned Peace and Sport in the digital era, where communication is dominated by social networks. The “Peace and Sport” smartphone app that we have developed with the specialized company My Coach endows us with a new perspective. We have set up a model and a methodology with this unique tool, intended for thousands of peace-through-sport educators around the world who act at grass roots level. Above all, we share and circulate knowledge with this application. It enables us to work with universities, associations, and even governments.

We also saw maturity at the Peace and Sport Awards evening on Thursday 12 December at the Monaco Opera House. In this exceptional setting, in the presence of Their Serene Highnesses Albert and Charlene of Monaco, evidence of maturity could be seen throughout the entire event: our Awards have today taken on a meaning and value that it was hard to imagine when they were created. The joy shown by the winners was the best illustration of this. I was particularly touched by the emotion expressed by representatives from the Fundación Olímpica Guatemalteca, presented with the Award for Innovative Action of the Year. This Award will allow them the opportunity to continue running their programs and multiply their actions.

One event alone – Siya Kolisi’s visit to the Principality for the Peace and Sport Forum – is an example of the maturity acquired by our organization and its Awards. Captain of the South African rugby team and World Champion in Japan, at only 28, Siya is already a role model. He is still active, but he wants to continue his lifetime commitment giving back to society everything he has received through sport. He is committed: Siya Kolisi is our “Champion of the Year 2019”. He too has become a Champion for Peace.

The 12th International Peace and Sport Forum is now behind us. We will not forget it. But the mobilization for peace through sport never stops. The next step is already underlined in bold: to maximize our approach for sport diplomacy. To continue bringing together, in the same neutral place through sport, diplomats who have faced difficulties to communicate on usual grounds. The challenge is daunting. But it is exciting.”

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