29 September 2009
The 2009 Global Peace Games for Children and Youth were held today at the Palestinian Athletics City in Yarmouk, Damascus. The event aims to bring attention to the important role of young people and sport as tools to promote global peace, friendship and community development.
The event was organized by UNRWA with the support of UNICEF, and was presided over by UNRWA Commissioner-General, Karen Koning AbuZayd, and UNICEF Deputy Representative in Syria, Marc Lucet. Over 1,500 Palestine refugee students participated in the event that included sport and cultural activities and the signing of a Manifesto for Peace.
Ms. AbuZayd reinforced the goal of the Games in her welcoming speech to students. She said, "These games are organized so that young people like you can demonstrate what a central role you each have in promoting a spirit of friendship and peace, whether it be in your school, local community, or with others around the world…they also aim to raise awareness about the importance of rejecting violence as a means to solve problems."
The first Global Peace Games for Children and Youth was held in 2001, and has been held annually to coincide with the United Nations International Day of Peace. They are an initiative of the Italian NGO, PLAY SOCCER, FIFA and the UN Special Representative for Sports and Development.
"The successful story of development of young Palestinian community is now being spread across Syria. We believe and hope that this story will continue for the peaceful coexistence of the world’s children and youth," said Marc Lucet, UNICEF Deputy Representative.
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