Georgia Today, On Saturday April 8, Generations for Peace (GFP), a global non-profit organization based in Jordan, organized a series of football games in nine different countries across six different time zones. The games celebrated the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP). In Tbilisi, Public School N155 was the host of this wonderful global event which aims to emphasize the power of sport to foster unity and build peace across mental, emotional and physical borders.

The Tbilisi event, called Get the Ball Rolling 2019, started with a presentation about GFP and the IDSDP. Georgian GFP Pioneers Tornike Chargeishvili and Levan Kopaliani, and others, engaged voluntary football players in bonding and team-work activities. Then, at 11am, 17 simultaneous matches began in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. The organizers welcomed volunteers from various backgrounds, including those who have faced school bullying or violence.

“This event, like all Generations for Peace programs, highlights 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,” Chargeishvili said of the event.

The International Day of Sport for Development and Peace is an annual celebration recognized by the UN and has been marked on the international calendar since April 6, 2013. This date serves to raise awareness of the potential sport has to contribute to global objectives for development and peace due to its unparalleled popularity, enjoyable nature and other positive values.

Generations for Peace is an NGO that has been ranked #3 Peacebuilding NGO in the World, the 11th Children and Youth NGO, and the 29th NGO overall by NGO Advisor 2019. Generations for Peace is also the only peace-through-sport organization recognized by the International Olympic Committee. GFP has a long history of using sport-based activities to build peace and transform conflict into friendship across tribes, religions, races, ethnicities, and nationalities. Over the last 12 years, GFP has trained, mentored and supported more than 11,400 youth volunteers, whose efforts later positively impacted more than 524,000 children and adults in 50 different countries. However, GFP is not limited to sport-based activities, as the NGO is also known for using arts, advocacy, dialogue and empowerment tools to address challenges of importance, such as post-conflict trauma, response and reconciliation, gender inequality, and more.

“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 everyone to build peace and pass it on!” said Mark Clark, Generations for Peace CEO.

Generations for Peace was first brought to Georgia in 2013. Since then, it has been working with youth around the country’s capital, Tbilisi.

By Nini Dakhundaridze