Over 500 diverse youth across 6 time zones witnessed the power of sport to bring unity on International Day of Sport for Development and Peace

08 April 2019 – Amman, Jordan: Generations For Peace, a global non-profit peacebuilding organisation based in Jordan, engaged over 500 youth in nine countries with Get the Ball Rolling 2019, an international series of football games that united diverse youth to celebrate International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP). The purpose of the global event was to emphasise the power of sport to foster unity and build peace across physical, mental, and emotional borders.

At 11am UTC (1pm in Jordan) 17 simultaneous matches began across Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. In Amman, with support from UNICEF and the Jordan Olympic Committee, the games created a safe space brought to life at Sport City and welcomed boys and girls from various backgrounds and of various ages to overcome divisive barriers through sport.

Farah Al-Badarneh, Jordan Programmes Manager at Generations For Peace, said, “Jordan has for many years faced challenges when it comes to social cohesion and conflict transformation among youth. Get the Ball Rolling 2019 was a great opportunity to address those challenges and many others around the world, providing a safe space through sport where local youth could unite, crossing mental and emotional borders they face every day and recognising that they are not alone. This event, like all Generations For Peace programmes, highlighted the power of youth to lead us toward a more peaceful future, if we only provide them with the opportunities and empowerment they need to do so.”

Ranked the world’s #3 peacebuilding NGO, the #11 Children and Youth NGO, and the #29 NGO overall by NGO Advisor for 2019, Generations For Peace – the only peace-through-sport organisation recognised by the International Olympic Committee – has a history of using sport-based games to empower youth to build peace and transform conflicts across tribes, religions, races, ethnicities, and nationalities. Over the last 12 years, the organisation has trained, mentored and supported more than 11,400 youth volunteers, whose efforts have positively impacted more than 524,000 children, youth, and adults in 50 countries. In addition to its renowned Sport For Peace programming, the organisation also uses arts, advocacy, dialogue, and empowerment tools, addressing challenges of gender inequality, post-conflict trauma response and reconciliation, and more.

Mark Clark, Generations For Peace CEO, commented on the event’s impact, saying, “Generations For Peace believes in the enormous potential of youth to lead positive change in their own communities, and in the power of sport as a universal language to unite those who are faced with division and violent conflict every day. As part of our long-term programming in these communities, Get the Ball Rolling 2019 was an opportunity to reflect the values of Generations For Peace and to celebrate the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace in a truly global sense. Across nine countries and three continents, the simultaneous football games involved not just our trained Pioneers, volunteers, and participants, but also engaged local community members, demonstrating these values and encouraging anyone to build peace and pass it on!”

The International Day of Sport for Development and Peace is an annual day recognised by the UN and celebrated its sixth year on Saturday, 6 April 2019. The day serves to raise awareness of the potential of sport to contribute to global objectives for development and peace due to its vast reach, unparalleled popularity, and foundation of positive values.