H.E. Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, called on the international community to recognise the power of sport during the inaugural Paris Peace Forum.
Al 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 11 November, 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 His Highness The Emir, 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, which discussed sport as a resource for inclusion, reconciliation and peace-building, Al 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 Al 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.”
Al Thawadi called on the international community to recognise the power of sport when it comes to promoting peace and providing both 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 this changes at global policy level.”
Joining Al 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.
The panelists discussed sport’s unique position to promote peace and understanding, and highlighted events such as a unified Korea team taking part in the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Al Thawadi also said mega events such as the 2022 FIFA World Cup™ help to accelerate human and social change, and cited workers’ welfare as one such example in Qatar.
“The work we have done in relation to workers’ welfare is of paramount importance for the legacy of this World Cup. The progress we have made is significant and even our fiercest critics recognise this. There is still a long journey ahead but we are committed to progress.”
The forum, which focused on highlighting and debating concrete proposals to solve worldwide problems, including peace and security, climate change, migration and data management, brought together more than 10,000 stakeholders in global governance.