Peace and Sport is an international, neutral and independent organization based in Monaco, which promotes peace using the power of sport. Founded in 2007 by Modern Pentathlon Olympic Medallist and World Champion Joël Bouzou, Peace and Sport is placed under the High Patronage of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco.
Sport as a tool for building peace
Universal, and popular with youth, sport constitutes an answer to the progression of conflicts by bringing communities together. If it is used with the right intention to achieve life skills objectives, in an appropriate setting and by qualified educators, sport can contribute to peacebuilding.
Peace and Sport calls on international decision-makers to deploy the intentional use of sport as a tool for transmitting values for peace, relying on its universality, on its role models and on field actors trained with the day-to-day needs.
The culture of peace is a set of values, attitudes, behaviors and lifestyles that inspire social interactions, avoid violence and prevent conflict, by putting the focus on dialogue and negotiation among individuals, groups and states. (UN Resolution A/RES/52/13).
Sport for peace refers to the intentional use of sport to achieve specific objectives to build a culture of peace, through the transmission of values, attitudes and behaviors that inspire social interaction and sharing.
Six years after the adoption of the Kazan Action Plan, the 7th UNESCO Conference of Ministers of Sport (MINEPS VII) that took place on June 26-29, 2023, in Azerbaijan enabled Peace and Sport to share its recommendations to all the member states to develop sport as a tool for reconciliation, inclusion, and mutual understanding aimed at building peaceful, inclusive and equitable societies.
High-level peace through sports talks to take place in Riyadh
Exciting news comes as Peace and Sport, in partnership with the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee (SOPC), introduces the Peace and Sport Middle-East Forum, powered by SOPC. Scheduled for October 18th and 19th, 2023, this landmark event will unfold within the Cultural Palace in Riyadh’s Diplomatic Quarter. Sport, known for its impartiality, fairness, and universal appeal, emerges as a potent catalyst for nurturing a culture of peace and communal well-being through open dialogue. Peace and Sport has been advocating worldwide for this vision, which is central to the role sport plays in achieving Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 goals. With nearly 70% of its population under 35, sport can foster a sense of belonging and inspire future generations.
Themed “Sport is an Answer for Peace,” the Peace and Sport Middle-East Forum, powered by SOPC, in collaboration with Diplomatic Quarter office at the Royal Commission for Riyadh City, will assemble an array of experts and decision-makers spanning diverse domains. Their collective aim is to exemplify and formulate policies that leverage sport as a conduit for disseminating positive values, attitudes, and behaviors conducive to peace building.
The event’s agenda encompasses many sessions covering impacts of grassroots initiatives, major sports events, women’s sports empowerment, and an anticipated talk between Didier Drogba, Vice President of Peace and Sport, and a prominent football legend newly part of the thriving Saudi Arabian league. An essential session will center on “Vision 2030: Sport in Saudi Arabia,” spotlighting the nation’s dedication to sports as a national priority and its aligning with Vision 2030 and the 2018-launched Quality of Life Program. Saudi leaders will present significant initiatives and initial outcomes.
To participate in the construction of a culture of peace through sport and the values it conveys, in order to create a safer, more fair and more inclusive world.
Based on its expertise in the field of peace through sport and on the success of the digitization of its methodology, Peace and Sport has launched an international coalition to identify the challenges, the good practices and the needs of leading organizations and to strengthen the social impact of sport at the community level. Peace and Sport is implementing a bottom-up approach.
Through a global mentorship, grassroots organizations on three continents and international athletes who work daily to promote inclusion and peace through sport, are supported.
Using a bottom-up approach based on 15 years of experience and with the realities of the field, Peace and Sport puts forward solutions adapted to the challenges faced at the community level, in order to develop high-impact programs that use sport to build peaceful, inclusive and equitable communities.
The Friendship Games
Organized by COP Colombia, the Friendship Games bring together more than a 1,000 young people from different neighborhoods of Usmé, Bogota. They also strengthen the organization’s ties with local institutions such as the Ministry of Sports and the local municipality, which are essential to the expansion of the programs.
In Burundi, Vénuste Niyongabo has been involved with Peace and Sport for nearly 15 years. A Champion of Peace and the country’s only Olympic champion, Vénuste is a source of inspiration for youth and Peace Educators. Mentored by Peace and Sport, he created the Vénuste Niyongabo Foundation in 2022 to contribute to the improvement of education through Sport.
The Naandi Foundation
In India, the Naandi Foundation trained the first female football educators to be certified by the national federation. Since then, the Peace and Sport Methodology exercises have been integrated into Naandi’s sessions for the 400 beneficiaries of the program.
Sport is far too often missing from programs to which it could contribute to. Since its creation, Peace and Sport has been developing a coalition approach by building bridges between sport, development and peace decision-makers. Today, the imperative of multi-partnerships and consortium is widely recognized as a multiplier for the impact of sport.
Peace and Sport has created a protocol to train educators with the fundamentals of peace through sport. Since the launch of the Peacemakers Project, each organization has benefited from an e-learning training and face-to-face consolidation seminars have been held.
Peace and Sport: Going mobile
In order to support field organizations, Peace and Sport has designed over 150 sessions in 2 sports (Football and Rugby) and 3 languages (French, English and Spanish). Thanks to the Peace and Sport by MyCoach mobile app, educators can implement structured sessions that are not primarily focused on performance but rather on transmitting values, based on three main themes: Accept yourself, Accept others and Live together.
Peace and Sport and Paris-Nanterre University have decided to collaborate to evaluate the social impact of sport at the community level within the framework of a UNESCO Chair. This ambitious work aims to demonstrate the tangible impact of peace through sport field programs and to convince decision-makers that those programs have a real and concrete effect on our world, especially at the community level.
Peace and Sport supports its partners throughout the project from the designing to the funding stage. Monitoring, through the Peace and Sport by MyCoach mobile app, enables data on program participants to be collected.
Peace and Sport also supports the promotion of activities by designing awareness-raising events that bring together the entire ecosystem at the end of the cycle. Promoting the peace through sport movement is at the heart of Peace and Sport’s missions. Peace and Sport strives daily to raise awareness among the general public and institutions: on the occasion of April 6, around the symbol of the #WhiteCard, during the Awards Ceremony or in the media and particularly through the support of the Champions for Peace.
A Team Effort
The Member States of the United Nations agree on sport’s exceptional capacity to contribute to education, peacebuilding and violence reduction policies, especially in the post COVID-19 context.
Despite this international consensus, on average, governments only allocate 2% of their budgets to physical education. The mindsets need to change in order to break down the barriers and to maximize the positive effects of the peace through sport initiatives already underway.
The recognition of peace educators as a qualified and employable workforce is decisive. The professionalization of their status implies putting in place appropriate remuneration, providing dedicated training and orientation tools to accompany these men and women on whom the impact of the programs relies.
Development banks, governments financial sectors, major sporting events organizers and international organizations must coordinate their approaches, programs and policies in order to make the funds proposed to the field actors more effective and efficient. This includes sport’s investment in educational policies and the mobilization of teachers and educators who can be involved during the work time.
The causal relationships between sport and peacebuilding, conflict and violence prevention remain to be demonstrated. Moreover, the evaluation methods currently available are essentially dedicated to the national level.
These requirements imply a new paradigm, by focusing on the community level, on a long-term vision and on the impact criteria which add the qualitative to the quantitative. Peace and Sport calls for greater convergence between supervising ministries and their departments and recommends to develop distinctive offices dedicated to this coordination. In order to integrate the sport, education, employability, health and youth sectors, together with cross-cutting interventions and programs, a systemic change is imperative.
Models, heroes and sources of inspiration for young people around the world, athletes have a unique capacity to contribute to the development of a culture of peace through sport. It is essential to mentor them simultaneously with their sporting careers in order to raise their awareness from an early age and to offer them frameworks for action and expression, in order to strengthen their impact as peacemakers.
There are many examples of deadlocks that hinder field actors who wish to expand the scope of their activities, due to a lack of cooperation with institutions. If institutions were to consult effectively with program leaders, it would be then possible to remove those barriers that limit the impact of sport for peace.