By Tom Lloyd, Monaco, Dec 8, 2017: The 2017 Peace Sport International Forum closed today with a landmark meeting of global sports ministers, after three days of insight, knowledge sharing and meaningful discussion.
The diplomatic roundtable saw ministers from 15 countries come together to discuss how best to work collaboratively to use sport as a tool for peace.
Ahmed Khanou, Sports Minister for Sierra Leone, discussed the power sport has in his country for inspiring youth in the face of conflict and natural disaster, while President of the Cyprus Sports Organisation, Cleanthis Georgiades, opened up about the important role of Cypriot sport in helping the island nation with the refugee crisis.
South African Deputy Minister of Sport and Recreation, Gert Oosthuizen, shared his experience of opening outdoor gyms to encourage youth to stay off the streets, describing that while “not everyone can become an champion of sport, everyone can become a champion of society” before Angolan Sports Minister Sacramento Neto discussed the immense growth of sport in her nation, just 42 years after gaining independence.
Throughout the landmark meeting Peace and Sport Founder and President, Joël Bouzou, discussed how the organisation could play a role in assisting nations with their peace-through-sport projects, calling upon the importance of neutrality in offering diplomatic, sport-based solutions.
The event capped off a special three days, that saw the likes of Didier Drogba, Muhammad Yunus, and Lilian Thuram discuss openly the key role sport has to play in the global peace movement, and how best athletes, international federations, sports properties and NGOs can work to ensure a more conflict-free society.
Former Afghanistan women’s football team captain, Khalida Popal, was the headline winner at the Peace and Sport International Awards on day two, taking home the 2017 Champion of the Year Award. Other winners included F.C. Barcelona Foundation, the World Badminton Federation, and the UNFP.
Elsewhere, Peace and Sport unveiled two landmark partnerships, with the Yunus Centre and the Jordanian National Olympic Committee.
The partnership with the Yunus Centre, and it’s Grameen Creative Lab arm, will see Peace and Sport and Muhammad Yunus set up a Social Business Fund in Monaco, while the JOC agreement will see NOC support Peace and Sport’s work in the Jordanian Zaatari refugee camp.
Other highlights included a moment of diplomatic unity as Russian kickboxers faced off against Ukrainian counterparts, an organised meeting of more than 40 Champions for Peace, and a Run for Peace through the streets of Monaco.
Peace and Sport President and Founder, Joël Bouzou, said:
“This has been an incredible three days, full of learning, sharing and energy. The desire for change and world peace among the people who have attended the Forum this year has been incredible. I want to thank everyone for their meaningful input, and I am excited to build upon the foundations that have been laid here.
“The Forum is a very special moment for me, and I am so happy to share it with you all. Peace and Sport continues to go from strength to strength, and this Forum has surely been one of the greatest ever.
Together, we’re committed to driving change around the world, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds. Thank you all.”
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