By A Correspondent Rome, Italy
Leading figures from the world of sport, international organisations, business and civil society united at the special ‘Sport Nostrum’ Forum, organised by Save the Dream recently, and took an important step forward in identifying a strategic roadmap to use sport to foster dialogue and social innovation across the Mediterranean region.
The ‘Sport Nostrum’ Forum was organised by Save the Dream jointly with its partners for the Mediterranean region — the TASEM coalition — and the support of the UN Alliance of Civilizations to promote the role of sport in empowering young people and build a coalition that uses sport to foster greater dialogue and social innovation across the Mediterranean region.
‘Sport Nostrum’ took place in the context of MED 2017 – Mediterranean Dialogues – the high-level event organised by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and ISPI (Italian Institute for International Political Studies) involving 800 leaders in Business, Politics and Culture, 80 Think Tanks and International Institutions and over 56 Countries.
During the opening of the Forum, Mario Pescante, the Permanent Observer of the International Olympic Committee to the United Nations, called on all countries and organisations attending the Forum to observe the recently adopted UN Resolution on the Olympic Truce and use it as a global instrument to promote peace and mutual understanding across and beyond the Mediterranean region.
In addition, Fiona May (Head of the Integration Commission, FIGC) and Honey Thalijeh (Save the Dream and Corporate Communications Manager, FIFA) spoke at the forum alongside senior representatives during the panel discussion to emphasise the role sport has in bridging communities, as well as how it supports social integration and the fight against discrimination.
The Forum brought together high-level representatives from a range of organisations including the International Olympic Truce Center (IOTC), UNHCR, UNICRI, UEFA Foundation for Children, AC Milan, the Italian National Olympic Committee, the National Olympic Committee of Portugal, the Italian Government Office for Sport, the Italian Football Association, the World Ethnosport Confederation, the European Platform for Sport Innovation and Universities such the “La Sapienza” of Rome and the Catholic University of Milan.
Speaking about the Forum, Massimiliano Montanari, Executive Director of Save the Dream, said:
“Sport is a unique and powerful instrument to restore normality in the life of asylum seekers, facilitate integration into society and promote inter-cultural and inter-faith dialogue. Sport also plays an important and vital role within communities and helps to break down stereotypes and narratives in society that incite hatred, exclusion and fuel extremism.
“Today’s Sport Nostrum Forum has been an important stepping stone in promoting the positive impact sport can have on young people from across the region, as well as moving forward Save the Dream’s ongoing efforts to establish a multisectoral platform that uses sport to foster greater dialogue and social innovation across the Mediterranean region.
“To achieve this and to truly harness the power that sport has in developing skills and encouraging sustainable and inclusive growth, a collective approach involving sport, business, academia, cities and civil society, including youth organisations, is vital.
“On behalf of Save the Dream, today’s Sport Nostrum, which took place on the sidelines of the MED forum, has an important step forward to enhance efforts to achieve this aim.”
Raffaele Chiulli, President of the Association of International Sports Federations recognized by the International Olympic Committee, concluded: “I was delighted to contribute to the Forum’s objectives and take note of a common vision within participating organisations on the role sport can play to make a change in the Mediterranean and on the importance of developing a regional coalition to contribute, through sport, to sustainable development goals, engage countries in dialogue, facilitates post-conflict transitions and offer opportunities to young generations.”
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