6 April, 2014 – Amman, Jordan: Celebrating the first-ever International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP), Generations For Peace volunteers in fifteen countries led activities to demonstrate how sport can be used as a powerful tool to bridge gender, religious and ethnic divides in their communities.
Generations For Peace volunteers in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Indonesia, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Uganda and Yemen joined the worldwide call to action. Demonstrating Generations For Peace carefully-designed sport-based games, the volunteers showed the effectiveness of sport as a universal language and vehicle for change to address conflict and violence. The activities helped boost awareness and support for their ongoing work in their communities.
HRH Prince Feisal Al Hussein, Founder and Chairman of Generations For Peace, emphasised the significance of IDSDP: “I was delighted when the UN General Assembly declared 6 April as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. This is an important day to engage children and youth in sport. It helps promote and boost the work that our Generations For Peace volunteers around the world are carrying out each day and week to lead change in their own communities. They are using sport as a powerful entry point to engage with children and youth to raise awareness and help tackle local issues of conflict and violence, inequality and exclusion, and social development.”
In Kabul, Afghanistan, Generations For Peace volunteers organised a demonstration football match between local young people from Miakhel and Sahak, two villages in Kabul Province in conflict over land. The match was organised for 30 male youth playing in mixed teams from the two rival villages. During the closing there was a discussion and reflection from the participants and audience about the match, and how sport can be used for development and peace.
Sayed Ikram Afzali, Generations For Peace Pioneer from Afghanistan said: “We would like the policy makers to understand the power of sport – it can be used as a vehicle for peace building and development. We are showing how tools like sport can bring people together.”
In Baku, Azerbaijan, Generations For Peace volunteers delivered a presentation on the role of sport as a tool for peace building to more than 50 participants including refugees, internally-displaced people, and representatives from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Department of Public Information (UNDPI) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Aysel Asgarova, Generations For Peace Delegate from Azerbaijan said: “As well as encouraging dialogue and understanding between people, sport can also advance human rights and act as a driver for social change.”
The global celebrations to mark this first-ever IDSDP are helping to raise awareness and support for Generations For Peace volunteers around the world. Generations For Peace is the only peace-through-sport organisation officially recognised by the International Olympic Committee, and has more than 8,400 volunteers in 50 countries, leading local change in their own communities in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe.