UN celebrates at Global Peace Games

29 September 2009

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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Hala Mukhles
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Mobile: 0940888103

Background Information

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 100 million.

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