2022 WC Has Power to Unify Middle East: Thawadi

Published November 15th, 2018 - 04:03 GMT
Hassan al Thawadi
Hassan al Thawadi

Secretary-General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) Hassan al Thawadi has called on the international community to recognise the power of sport during the inaugural Paris Peace Forum, according to the SC's official website.

Thawadi took part in a panel session entitled 'Working out for Peace-Building and Reconciliation' on day two of the event, which hosted world leaders and international organisations in an effort to enhance cooperation in order to tackle global challenges and ensure durable peace.

The forum got underway on November11 while Armistice Day commemorations were being held across the globe to mark a hundred years since the end of the First World War. More than 80 world leaders and heads of state attended the event, including the Amir of Qatar His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, British Prime Minister Theresa May, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

During the panel discussion on sport as a resource for inclusion, reconciliation and peace-building, Thawadi said the 2022 FIFA World Cup had the power to unify the Middle East, break down stereotypes and foster both cultural understanding and tolerance.

"The World Cup breaks down barriers and stereotypes it promotes inclusion and interaction between peoples from all over the world", said Thawadi.

"The sporting industry in the Middle East must be an engine for economic growth and creating jobs. Our legacy initiatives seek to provide people with the skills to take advantage of this,", he added.

Thawadi urged the international community to recognise the power of sport when it comes to promoting peace and providing social and economic stimulus.

He said:"International organisations must recognise the role of sport and its power to impact meaningful change in society. Sport's potential is often underestimated and it's our duty to ensure that this changes at global policy level."

Joining Thawadi on the panel were Massimiliano Di Cola, from the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation, Oliver Dudfield, head of Sport for Development and Peace, Commonwealth Secretariat, and former footballer Youri Djorkaeff, who won the 1998 FIFA World Cup with France and is now president of the non-profit Youri Djorkaeff Foundation, which uses the power of football to help children grow up healthier, stronger and happier. The panel was moderated by Pascal Boniface, Director of the French Institute for International & Strategic Affairs.

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