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Generations for Peace Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

Inside the Games   
April 18th, 2012



Credit: Steven Depolo/Creative Commons

By David Gold

Generations For Peace (GFP), the international non-profit organisation which uses sport as a tool to resolve conflict, is celebrating its fifth anniversary with events taking place across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

The organisation was founded by Prince Feisal Al-Hussein (pictured top), the President of the Jordan Olympic Committee (JOC) and an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member, in 2007 to utilise sport’s ability to tackle conflict.

Sport has notably helped on occasion to solve some of the world’s most intransigent conflicts over the years.

Chelsea forward Didier Drogba helped to unite warring parties in his native Ivory Coast when he got down on his knees after qualifying for the 2006 World Cup with a victory over Sudan.

He begged on television for warring parties to lay down their arms, and subsequently took his personal award as the best player in Africa to the rebel strongholds in the north to help unite the nation.

Similarly, during a tour in Africa by the great Brazilian Santos team for which Pele played in 1969, the club refused to take part in a friendly game in Congo unless a ceasefire was called in the country’s civil war.

GFP has trained and mentored some 6,000 delegates in 48 countries.

More than 90,000 children have been engaged by 400 peace-building programmes, largely run by youth volunteer Pioneers trained by the organisation at peace camps; there the youngsters learn the skills to organise sports activities and promote harmony.

It is also one of just two peace-building through sport organisations officially recognised by the IOC.

The IOC has played a key role in the organisation’s growth, highlighted when President Jacques Rogge opened the GFP institute in Amman, Jordan, last year.

Prince Feisal marked the five-year landmark with a speech showcasing his organisation’s progress during the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) meeting in Moscow.

He laid out some of the key achievements of the organisation and praised its Pioneers.

“We, in Generations For Peace, have learned as much from our Pioneers as they have from us,” he said.

“In pursuing their passion for peace, they have engaged more than 90,000 children in peace-building, sport-based games.

“That’s more than the full capacity of the London 2012 Olympic Stadium.”

Prince Feisal added: “We have supported and mentored our delegates and pioneers while they have implemented more than 400 peace-building programmes in their own communities, not only engaging children and youth but also influencing parents, teachers and community leaders.”

“But,” he insisted, “all this cannot be done alone.

“Our reach is extended and our sustainability strengthened by more than 35 partnerships with key local, regional and continental partnerships.

“One of our Pakistani Pioneers, Zahid, is just one young man but, with only a small group of volunteers he recruited, he has been working for a year now with 9,300 children in one of the world’s largest camps for refugees and IDPs ['refugees'].

“At first, the camp’s community elders did not want him and his peace through sport programmes.

“Today, the elders of the main nine tribes living in the camp keep inviting Zahid back to implement more programmes and train others, so that they can watch even more children – both boys and girls – play and laugh together, and put aside their tribal differences.”

Prince Feisal concluded: “Behind each number is a human story.

“If we ever forget that then we open the door to indifference – and indifference lies at the heart of inaction.”

Contact the writer of this story at david.gold@insidethegames.biz

[Source: Inside the Games]

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