Qatar – Doha December 9-11, 2013
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This is the first time that I have the privilege to speak at the Doha Goals, so I am truly thrilled to be here to address its second edition, which is held again in my hometown – Doha, the Global Capital of Sports.
We are witnessing a unique opportunity when we gather leaders, politicians and champions, under a unified voice to recognize the role of sports in promoting peace and development.
First, I would like to commend the leadership of the State of Qatar in promoting sports, and in particular under the wise leadership of HH Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani – Emir of the State of Qatar, who has been personally steering the ambitious Olympic dream of this country, which became prosperous icon and example on how small states can rise over the top when it enjoys responsible and wise leadership.
His Highness has continuously played a great role in supporting youth in the area of sports and innovation. The Alliance of Civilizations is pleased with the creation of the “Aspire Academy” that provides leadership in sports and recognizes the meaning of how young people can make a great impact.
The creation “Doha Sport City” was imperative to the Doha bid for hosting the Mundial in 2020. Thank you your Highness for these initiatives that the Alliance is relying on and looking forward to partnering with.
I also wish to sincerely thank H.E. Sheikh Faisal Al-Thani, Executive Director, Doha GOALS for organizing this event and for the kind invitation.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Once I took over the leadership of the Alliance last February, I called the attention of the UNAOC Global Forum on my decision to use sports, music, art and entertainment to foster a culture of peace, since these concepts can bring people and cultures together beyond differences. Just last week we mourned the passing of the great Nelson Mandela. Think of how he embraced this concept. Who can forget the emotion of the moment when he, wearing the jersey of South Africa’s captain, handed him the World Cup trophy when South Africa won the 1995 Rugby World Cup in Johannesburg? Who does not remember the moment when he entered the stadium for the final of the 2010 World Cup? Just as Doha GOALS, Mandela knew – sport unites.
Therefore, our mission as organization is aligned with the purposes and objectives of this unique meeting and its outcomes which will serve as solid foundation for spreading the role of sports in disseminating justice, equality and adopting important initiatives that helps in paving the way for development and prosperity.
I would like to recall that under the auspices of Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nassir, the UNAOC Forum held in Doha in December 2011, established for a correlation between cultural dialogue and sustainable development.
On the same path, the Alliance is willing to organize in the first quarter of 2014, a session on the Role of Sports in Promoting Intercultural Dialogue and Understanding. No one can deny that the ethics of sport can help individuals to build the values and communication skills necessary to prevent and resolve conflicts in their own lives. At the UN, we say: Security, Human Rights and Development, are mutually reinforcing and interdependent factors.
Sports can play a role in resolving conflicts, encouraging tolerance, building peace, creating job, and, in turn, fostering sustainable security around the globe.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Alliance of Civilizations is an action oriented organization.
Our conviction is that action speaks louder than words. That is why we have decided to support, through various mechanisms, grassroots organizations around the world that contribute to dialogue and understanding among people. UNAOC also provides grants for young generation through our Youth Solidarity Fund to implement innovative youth-led projects that promote peace and understanding among culturally or religiously divided communities.
In addition to that, we partnered with business sector components such as BMW to promote youth innovative technologies for peace. Our youth partners also are involved in sports activities like soccer and volleyball in Asia between Muslims, Christians and other faiths. They all deserve our admiration and respect.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The UN Secretary-General and I have on numerous occasions made the point that many conflicts have an identity based dimension.
Sports can indeed help a multi-ethnic country to unite. It has a unique potential to promote unity, bridge differences, overcome prejudices, heal divisions, and foster mutual understanding at Regional basis and between different countries.
The Alliance considering a practical implementation of a new strategy using sports, music, Art and entertainment – what we call the smARTe Alliance, in reference to soft and smart power – to promote dialogue and understanding among people and cultures. To have this strategy effective, we need to build partnerships with specialized organizations in order to make a significant difference.
As a UN official and a Qatari Diplomat, I’m looking forward to collaborating closely and partnering with the Doha Goals and the Qatari sports institutions.
Thank you for your attention and I wish you successful outcomes.