The Embassy of the State of Qatar to the United Kingdom hosted a virtual seminar on “Sport for Development and Peace” on the occasion of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.
The seminar highlighted the impact of sports on international development and peace. The speakers focused on sports as an empowerment factor for peace-building and development efforts by engaging it in marginalized communities and enabling them to realize their full potential.
The participants praised the efforts exerted by the State of Qatar in this field, emphasizing that since the State was granted the rights to host the 2022 World Cup, it has made important efforts to use sport as a catalyst for peace and development.
At the outset of the seminar, Professor Simon Chadwick, Director of the Center for the Eurasian Sports Industry and Professor of the Eurasian Sport at the Emlyon Business School in France, said that the State of Qatar is working with international partners to empower refugees and the economically marginalized, and is carrying out reforms to its labor market.
For her part, Reem Al Harami, Second Secretary at the Embassy of the State of Qatar to the United Kingdom, noted that sports has the power to strengthen societies and ties between nations.
She stressed the importance of sport in enhancing a sense of community belonging, especially among those affected by violence and conflict, as well as its importance in responding to the epidemic.
On the other hand, Marco Teixeira, Coordinator of the Global Program for the Implementation for the Doha Declaration, shed light on the efforts carried out by the United Nations to use sports as a means to reach out to the youth, and its targeting of the root causes of violence and crime and protecting the youth through its “Line up Live Up” program.
Teixeira further explained the UNODC’s “five regions” approach to preventing violent extremism, which includes sport.
Massimiliano Montanari, Chief Executive Officer of the International Center for Sport Security, said that discussions about sports, peace and development usually focus on the activities implemented on ground, which are the end product of a long series of activities and initiatives that ultimately lead to their occurrence.
He noted that the international community, compared to past decades, has now a common approach towards sport and peace, which creates synergy between societies and leads to better results in sport and projects related to development.
Montanari praised the role of Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) and the Darfur project lead by Qatar Charity, as a successful initiative that was part of the broader foreign policy objectives of the State of Qatar to promote peace in the region. He also commended Qatars broader contributions to the sponsorship of sports and development, adding that whenever his foundation contacts Qatari institutions to obtain partnership offers, “no one says no.”
Meanwhile, Danyel Reiche, visiting Associate Professor at Georgetown University in Qatar, shed light on the achievements of the Generation Amazing program and praised its role in engaging marginalized communities such as refugees in developing countries and making a positive impact on their communities by sponsoring sport and development. He added that the challenge is to maintain these activities after the tournament and that Qatar will do an “exceptional job” if it can maintain its proactive approach in this field.
Pointing to the critical reports of some international media outlets about the situation of expat workers in Qatar, he said that some of these reports were not fair and some of them were not accurate. He noted that Qatar addressed these issues, set a minimum wage and made many other improvements for expat workers.
Ali Abdullah, Vice Director General of Planning at QFFD, said that sport has the potential to promote dialogue, mutual understanding, social inclusion and peace, indicating that it places great value on development and peace processes.
He added that sport goes beyond borders and connects people from different backgrounds. He pointed out that QFFD signed in 2018 an agreement with its strategic partners to help IDPs in Darfur aiming at providing a safe and supportive environment for IDPs and rebuilding confidence.
On the other hand, Rwodah Ibrahim Al Naimi, head of Strategic Partnerships at QFFD, discussed the importance of the “overlapping links” between development and sport in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and focused particularly on the work of Qatar Fund for Development in Darfur.
She highlighted the sports festival organized by QFFD in Darfur for children, joined by famous athletes, noting that it gave the children a sense of solidarity and was an opportunity to provide a safe environment that allows them to build their capabilities and enhance their physical and mental well-being. She explained that sport represents a unique opportunity in his ability to develop basic life skills and develop relationships between people.
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs