Football can play an important role in protecting education: al-Thawadi
September 09 2020 11:07 PM
Hassan al-Thawadi
Hassan al-Thawadi

The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and the power of football can protect and encourage education for all, said Hassan al-Thawadi, secretary-general of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), during his appearance in a high-level virtual event to mark September 9 as the first International Day to Protect Education from Attack.

Organised by Education Above All (EAA) Foundation, with the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), Save Our Future, Qatar Fund For Development (QFFD) and the Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar to the United Nations (UN), the event aimed to commemorate and promote the international day and act as a call to stop attacks on education.

The event saw the participation of high-level speakers with opening addresses from Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of EAA and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Advocate; HE Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs; and Anto?nio Guterres, UN Secretary-General.

Also in attendance were Tijjani Mohamed Bande, president of the 74th Session of the General Assembly, and England footballing legend David Beckham, who is a Unicef Goodwill Ambassador and founder of the 7 Fund for Unicef.

Speaking in a panel discussion on promoting effective policy choices and public action during the pandemic, al-Thawadi said: “Protecting education from attack is an important tenet of the State of Qatar’s international commitments. Our country is steadfast in wanting to resolve conflict through dialogue and negotiation. And sport - football in particular - can play an important role in contributing to that protection.”

Al-Thawadi also highlighted some of the beneficiaries of the SC’s Generation Amazing programme, the organisation’s flagship football for development programme that uses the power of football to teach key life skills to children and youth in Qatar and globally, reported.

“Sport teaches us so much. It allows self-expression, develops character and fosters a freedom of spirit. We’re using the World Cup in 2022, and the power of football, to protect and encourage education for all,” he said.

Al-Thawadi ended his appearance by telling the inspirational story of Generation Amazing beneficiary, Mahira Ahmed Miyanji from Karachi, Pakistan. With dedication and through the help of Generation Amazing, Miyanji was able to continue her work with Women Is A Nation, a non-governmental organisation she founded, which advocates education and equal rights for girls in Pakistan.

Al-Thawadi said: “Long after the winning team has lifted the trophy at the World Cup in 2022, the legacy of the tournament will resonate in the stories of Mahira and others who continue to strive for education – aided by the special power and potential of sport.”

Launched during Qatar’s successful bid to host the FIFA World Cup 2022, Generation Amazing seeks to aid communities with identified needs through a football-driven methodology and strategy of training. Both on the pitch and in classrooms, the programme’s mission is to activate individuals’ skills in communication, teamwork and leadership for the benefit of the wider community.

Generation Amazing has reached more than 500,000 beneficiaries in Asia and the Middle East. The programme aims to positively impact one million people via unique football for development training sessions by the time the first ball is kicked at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

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