September 28 2005
The 2005 Global Peace Games for Children and Youth
28/09/2005 - With 2005 being the International Year of Sport and Physical Education, it was particularly fitting that thousands of children and youth around the world should unite in friendship and peace to take part in the 2005 Global Peace Games. These friendly Games, which were held at various venues on or around September 21 - the United Nations International Day of Peace - aim to promote cultural understanding and non-violence among the world's youngest citizens.
Football, being the world's favourite sport, featured heavily in the various Global Peace Games celebrations around the world, although children also took part in a variety of other sporting events, educational presentations and music performances.
The Games are the brain child of the non-governmental organisation PLAY SOCCER, which aims to promote the health, education, physical and social development of young girls and boys through sporting and educational activities. SOS Children's Villages has worked together with PLAY SOCCER to promote the Global Peace Games for the past five years, and in 2005 SOS Children's Villages in over 30 countries were able to take part, also inviting children and young people from the neighbouring communities to take part.
In Lebanon, children from SOS Children's Village Kfarhay alongside children from the surrounding area took part in basketball, football, table tennis and chess competitions. The children also performed dances and songs and enjoyed a play and music from some of the country's well known actors and musicians. Other SOS Children's Village associations to have taken part include Zimbabwe, where tennis and cricket were among the sports played, Mali, where children enjoyed both sports and theatrical activities, as well as Canada, Nicaragua, Bosnia and Kyrgystan.
The children that participated in the Global Peace Games were given the opportunity to sign a manifesto drafted for UNESCO by Nobel Peace Laureates, which will be handed over to Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General, at the International Year of Sport and Physical Education Conference in December. By signing the manifesto, the children are united with their peers around the globe in a voluntary common commitment to improve human lives.
Adolf Ogi, the Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace, encouraged the participants through his annual message: "Sport is a school of life, where you will learn how to win gracefully, to keep your head up high in defeat, to respect your opponent and - most importantly - the rules of the game through Fairplay." He added "Let this event be an enjoyable, uniting experience for you all where intercultural boundaries are broken and new friends made."
The first ever Global Peace Games were held in 1999 in New York City and the idea has since been taken up by countries all over the globe. Countries and territories that took part in this year's Games include: Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Cap Verde, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Palestinian Territories, Peru, Romania, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania, The Gambia, Tunisia, Uganda, Uruguay, USA, Zambia, Zanzibar, Zimbabwe.