H. E. Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), addressed a high-level meeting during the launch of the UN Global Programme initiative on the Security of Major Sporting Events on Friday.
During his opening remarks, Al Thawadi discussed how the SC is using sport to drive change through its football for development programme, Generation Amazing, which has already benefited more than 500,000 people in Asia and the Middle East.
“Generation Amazing’s work follows the ethos that brings us together today – promoting tolerance and respect, empowering youth and women, and encouraging health, education and social inclusion,” Al Thawadi said in a video speech to attendees of Friday’s event. “Each of these factors plays a significant role in the wider aim of preventing the causes of violent extremism. We all recognise that ethos and the potential within sports for achieving these goals. It is incumbent upon us all to ensure that the United Nations and the global international community truly recognise sport’s power and utilises that power to its fullest potential.”
The meeting comes within the framework of the UN Global Programme on the Security of Major Sporting Events, and Promotion of Sport and Its Values as a Tool to Prevent Violent Extremism.
The event saw the participation of high-level speakers including HE Sheikha Alya Ahmed bin Saif Al Thani, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Qatar to the UN, Mohammed Hanzab, Chairman of the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS), Dr Fadi Makki, Director of B4Development and Founder of Nudge Lebanon and José Mourinho, Head Coach of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.
Dr Makki took part in the panel session entitled ‘Understanding contemporary forms of extremism and shaping international policies to tackle them through sport’ where he discussed his work in Lebanon. Also speaking at Friday’s event was Generation Amazing Programmes Director, Nasser Al Khori, who discussed in depth the programme’s impact.
“I am a firm believer that sports must be recognised as a cross-cutting theme for attaining the sustainable development goals,” Al Thawadi said. “The coalition of organisations and individuals from within the United Nations and from various other bodies and sectors is a very encouraging step towards that recognition.”
“In Qatar, we have recognised that potential and placed sports at the forefront of our nation’s future. We understand the precious responsibility we have of hosting the world in 2022 and ensuring that the positive effects of bringing the world together must be harnessed for a better future for our region and the globe.”
During his video message, Al Thawadi praised the work of Generation Amazing, which aims to positively impact the lives of one million people by the time the first ball is kicked at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.
Speaking about the programme’s impact on youth in less privileged parts of the world, Generation Amazing Programmes Director, Nasser Al Khori said, “Generation Amazing has reached across four continents, built football pitches in 30 under-privileged communities, and positively impacted the lives of 500,000 young people to date. We work closely together with our partners at the B4Development behavioural insights unit to make sure our impact is measured and based on scientific insights.”
“By 2022 we aim to reach 1 million youth globally, empowering new generations of young leaders across the region and the world to transform their communities and generate exciting social development opportunities over the coming decades.”
Following the launch of the initiative, there will be a three-day International Expert Group Meeting from 21 to 23 September. A number of panel discussions will take place in the form of peer-to-peer sessions with the main aim of discussing the development of advanced policies to address violent extremism through sport. On 22 September, Al Khori will take part in a panel discussion called ‘Sport for preventing and countering violent extremism conducive to terrorism’.
Since Qatar won the right to host the next FIFA World Cup™, a number of legacy programmes have been launched to ensure that the tournament leaves a positive impact on communities in Qatar and beyond. These include Generation Amazing, Workers Welfare and Challenge 22.