October 12 2007
The 2007 Global Peace Games
15/10/2007 - Each year the Global Peace Games for Children and Youth are an opportunity for young people all over the world to demonstrate their central role in the mission of global friendship, peace and development. For the 10th sequential year, at many locations across the world, children of SOS Children's Villages and their communities reinforced their commitment to peace and solidarity by reflecting on these values in their participation in the Global Peace Games.
The United Nations proclaimed the children of the world as the central focus of the 2001-2010 International Decade for the Culture of Peace and Non-violence. Centred around the International Day of Peace on 21 September, the Games are a civil society initiative led by Play Soccer to show solidarity with this commitment.
The purpose of the Global Peace Games is to unite children and to build relationships based on friendship, respect and understanding. In this regard sports, thanks to their universal character, are the perfect tool for it. The Games are locally planned and financed events. They feature friendly soccer matches and/or other sporting events, educational presentations, music, art, dance or poetry. With these activities, a culture of friendship, intercultural understanding, peace and nonviolence among children and youth around the globe is built.
As captured by Adolf Ogi, Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General on Sport for Development and Peace, "Throughout the world during the Games, the flame of sport, happiness and friendship is burning." Children at all locations offered each other the handshake of friendship and signed the manifesto for peace. SOS Children's Village Pushkin, Russia emphasised that the greater purpose of the Games resulted in the fact that "there were no losers in the tournament - all kids and adults won". As a teacher at the Hermann Gmeiner School in Bindura, Zimbabwe, elaborated "they are a platform for interaction, learning to follow rules, develop tolerance, judgement and perception."
From SOS Children's Villages across the globe, the first reports of the Games are coming in describing the events and their meaning to the participants. Children in Sarajevo formulated messages related to peace, non-violence, sports, and fair-play that they would like to share with others and displayed them on balloons. In addition to competitive football games, and even a marathon, children in Rafah and Bethlehem in the Palestinian Territories, exercised the mind by playing chess in teams! In Pushkin the sports Games were "intense and catching; full of action and passion". And afterwards, a favourite national sportsman of the children in the village made time to visit them in their houses. The children of SOS Children's Villages in Bulgaria, Romania and Macedonia put the value of global friendship into practice by crossing borders and celebrating the Global Peace Games together.
In addition to promoting the central values and developing children's talents for sports, as SOS Children's Villages Bethlehem rightly summed up, the aim of the Games was "to participate and integrate within local community… and foster community friendships."
A full report on the event will be available on the Play Soccer Website from December. For additional information on this valuable initiative, please visit: www.playsoccer-nonprofit.org