Updated: Oct 3, 2022
“Sport is a total social fact” used to say Marcel Mauss, paramount French sociologist and anthropologist, stressing its role as a cultural norm, thus a pivotal value. Sport, both for amateurs or professionals, is strongly characterized by a social, educational and training element, integral part of the Sustainable Development process reinforced by the UN Agenda 2030. Since its foundation (in 2009) Peace and Sport, an international, neutral and independent organization based in the Principality under the High Patronage of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, has been promoting a more equitable and inclusive community through the practice of sports within targeted peace-keeping projects, meaningful celebrations and educational actions. Social Media actions have been promoted for some years receiving relevant support internationally. Notably the #WhiteCard online awareness campaign involving millions of people and well-known professional athletes to boost the constructive approach which made by all those who practice and love sport.
In view of the UN International Youth Day on the 12th August 2022, Peace and Sport has just launched the Junior Champions for Peace Club which currently gathers six emerging athletes, aged from 12 to 18 years old, from various nationalities and operating in different disciplines. The Club members will be involved in novel actions becoming points of reference for their followers to keep Sport high. “Young generations not only follow the example: they can be an example and a powerful source of inspiration to others”, stressed Joël Bouzou, President and Founder of Peace and Sport, and he added: “With the creation of this new Club, we wish to provide a platform of expression and to underline their ability to play a key advocacy role”. The importance of young sportspeople’s proactive influence to encourage a positive social change was reiterated by Marlene Harnois, Taekwondo Olympic Medalist and reigning representative of the Champions for Peace Club. “Today more than ever, younger generations are willing to build a sustainable future, hoping to leave behind a powerful legacy. They have progressively made their voice heard in diverse areas such as education, gender equality, social inclusion, the protection of the environment, and peace building”, she highlighted.
Photo >> Portraits of Fiorina Berezovsky (left side) and Théo Druenne (right side) - © Peace and Sport.
The direct feedback from the young Club members effectively gives hope for the future through the enthusiasm of their words and the passion for sport. Théo Druenne, Olympic swimmer aged 17 years old, is fully convinced that « sport can recreate dialogue among communities and inspire the youth”. Being the youngest member of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games Monegasque Delegation he is now an up-and-coming sportsman training for Paris 2021 Olympics. Fiorina Berezovsky, 15-year-old German Ukrainian chess player, does believe that “chess is a great sport to show how you can establish peace across the game”. She is being involved in making Sport a tool to overcome social divisions as witnessed by her recent initiative: the ‘Chess for Peace’ Tournament addressed to Ukrainian refugees hosted in Monaco. “Sport can be used as a vector of acceptance of differences and dialogue between communities”, Mamadou Coulibaly, 18-years-old Monegasque midfielder acting in AS Monaco, believes it as well.
Photo >> Portraits of Aliyyah Koloc (left side) and Mamadou Coulibaly (right side) - © Peace and Sport.
The 18-years-old twin sisters, Aliyyah and Yasmeen Koloc, nurture the same passion for motorsports while they contribute to solidarity projects for underprivileged children in Africa. Their good-vibes motto is “no matter your color, race or gender, you can do sports or whatever you want to do”. A comparable positive attitude is shown by Julian Agliardi, French-American skateboarder who is committed to say to any gang violence or criminal act. “I am always looking for positive inspiration and I am very excited to be chosen as an ambassador for Peace and Sport”, he stated.
Photo >> Portraits of Yasmeen Koloc (left side) and Julian Agliardi (right side) - © Peace and Sport.
Once again, Peace and Sport shows that Sport goes far beyond ‘doing sport’. Sport can trigger a proper lifestyle which helps socialization and a more sustainable use of public spaces and transports, promoting environmental protection, boosting circular economy and stimulating a more eco-responsible tourism. ***
To Know more about Peace and Sport please visit: https://www.peace-sport.org/
By Maurice Abbati