Hundreds of Lebanese, Palestinian and Syrian youth throughout Lebanon came together to run the 2013 Beirut Marathon. This year’s marathon was dedicated to peacemaking.
Under the slogan ‘1 Run, 1 Race’, more than 500 young Palestine refugees from Lebanon and Syria, including children with disabilities, also took part in the marathon. Their participation was made possible by support from the Government of the United States and the European Union (EU) for two United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) projects – ‘Play and Learn’ and ‘SPRING – Improving Living Conditions in Palestinian Refugee Camps in Lebanon’ respectively.
In honour of the peacemaking theme, UNRWA and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) teamed up with War Child Holland, Makhzoumi Foundation, Lana al Mustaqbal, Sidon Orphan Welfare Society, Arc en Ciel and Souk el Tayeb to expand also include refugee children from Syria, Iraq and Sudan. A stand on Manara Corniche, staffed by volunteers from UNRWA and UNHCR, briefed passers-by on the work of the two agencies.
The Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, Ann Dismorr, and the UNHCR Resident Representative, Ninette Kelley, ran the marathon together with the refugee children. At the starting line, Ms. Dismorr thanked the Beirut Marathon Association (BMA), the United States and the EU, noting: “This is a welcome initiative that complements UNRWA’s commitment to social inclusion for refugees and intercultural understanding. Youth are our future and champions of peace, rapprochement and dialogue. I reiterate my thanks to all our partners and commend the words of BMA Founder May el Khalil: ’Peacemaking is not a sprint; it is more of a marathon.’”
For more information on the Ten UNRWA Youth Commitments, click here.