- 02 Mar 2007
- Olympic News
Sport for Peace: A project launched in Liberia
Beyond the physical well-being, sport can play an important role for a safer, more prosperous and more peaceful society, through its educational values and worldwide network. Sport can promote understanding of each other, facilitate dialogue between the different communities and make the sports world accessible for everybody.
Today, in Monrovia (Liberia), at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) launched a five-week nationwide Sport for Peace Programme, in the presence of the President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the President of the Liberian National Olympic Committee, Philipbert S. Browne, the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General on Sports for Development and Peace, Adolf Ogi and Alan Doss, head of UNMIL.
Establish a dialogue through sport
Organised in close collaboration with the Liberian government, the Liberian NOC, the International Olympic Truce Centre and sports and local organisations, this programme will involve youth and community leaders from 15 counties of Liberia in sporting activities such as soccer and volleyball - aimed at establishing dialogue and thus a peaceful society. As IOC President Jacques Rogge said in his message to the organisers and participants, “this project is an excellent example of how different organisations and institutions can create synergies to achieve a shared objective - the promotion of a peaceful society in Liberia. Sport is, in essence, the only language understood by everyone and has a huge social as well as educational impact: sports activities promote interaction, tolerance and the spirit of fair play. If youngsters learn through sport to respect each other, they will be well equipped for their role in contributing to a better society.” This sports festival will also be used to raise public awareness about social issues like HIV/AIDS, sexual exploitation and abuse, rape and reconciliation.
Donation of sports kits and equipment
The competitions would not be successful without appropriate equipment. The IOC has donated large quantities of sports kits and equipment including jerseys, footballs, volleyballs, boots and nets. The IOC donation was made at the request of the Sport for Peace Taskforce, a group set up last year to explore the ways through which sport could be used effectively to promote peace, unity and development in Liberia. The taskforce, headed by the Public Information Section of the UNMIL, comprises the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Liberian National Olympic Committee, national sports federations, youth groups and NGOs.
A strong IOC/UN relationship
The IOC has enjoyed an excellent relationship with the UN, especially over the last few years, during which the IOC has signed cooperation agreements with several specialised agencies of the UN and, in partnership with them, has developed joint programmes to promote education, health care (particularly the prevention of HIV/AIDS), environmental issues and the role of women in sport and society.
The IOC hopes to hold bridge-building events in countries where UN peace-keeping missions are in service, and where sport can be successfully used as a tool for peace-building and community dialogue.