The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and Italian organization UISP Sport per Tutti held a ceremony today at UNRWA - Lebanon field office, to mark the conclusion of a project focusing on sport as a tool to convey values of respect. The ceremony was attended by the representative of the Italian ambassador to Lebanon, the first secretary Ms. Palma d’Ambrosio, Director of the Italian Cooperation in Lebanon, Mr. Guido Benevento, Deputy Director of UNRWA affairs in Lebanon, Mr. Roger Davies, and the President of UISP, Mr. Vincenzo Manco .Also present were the representative of the Embassy of Palestine to Lebanon, Ramzi Mansour; the representative of the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee, Lina Hamdan, representatives from the Italian Development Cooperation and UISP.
On this occasion, Ms. D’Ambrosio said: “The longstanding collaboration between UNRWA, UISP and our Embassy is based on the common belief that sport is a message of peace, in a moment where political and sectarian divisions represent a continuous threat to the desire of stability and justice expressed by youth”.
The initiative aimed to equip UNRWA schools and sport clubs’ gym spaces to conduct soft-boxing. Soft Boxing is a non-contact sport, which is adaptable for all ages. In 2013 twelve UNRWA schools and four sport clubs in Palestinian Refugee Camps in Lebanon were provided with specialized soft-boxing training courses and with relevant equipment (head guards, boxing gloves and wraps, punching bags, skipping ropes, dumbbells, etc). The EUR 31.000 project was completely funded by the UISP Sport per Tutti and the Italian Province of Bolzano.
Thanking Italy for its continuous support and commitment to UNRWA, Mr. Davies noted that: ”Italy is an important funding partner for UNRWA in Lebanon. Many of our projects and emergency assistance wouldn’t have been implemented without its support”.
The government of Italy donated around US$ 2 million to support health reform in Lebanon, US$ 2.6 million for the camp improvement initiative, around US$ 7 million to Nahr el-Bared emergency assistance.
UISP had in the past 2 years previously organized the “Vivicitta – run for dignity” in both Saida and Baalbeck; and is an active partner in the organization of “Palestiniadi”, a yearly sport initiative promoted by the Italian Development Cooperation and UNRWA, which aims at promoting dialogue between Palestinian children from the camps and their Lebanese peers from local schools.
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