* Youth-focused campaign launched at event organised by Qatar, UNOCT
Qatar organised a high-level roundtable on the protection of major sporting events and the use of sport values-based initiatives for preventing violent extremism (PVE), in partnership with the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT)’s Global Sports Programme, Generation Amazing, the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations (UNAOC), the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), and the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS), on the sidelines of the Doha Forum, Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported on Monday.
At the event, UNOCT announced a Sport for PVE Global Awareness Campaign with the support of FIFA Foundation CEO Youri Djorkaeff, renowned marathon runner Tegla Loroupe, as well as international football legends Luis Figo and Tim Cahill, the ICSS said in a statement.
HE the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sultan bin Saad al-Muraikhi affirmed before the high-level roundtable that Qatar’s strategy to prevent and combat violent extremism focuses in particular on building resilience among young people through education and increasing economic opportunities, as well as through sports, according to QNA.
Based on Qatar’s belief in the ability of sports to provide a space for learning and improve understanding and peaceful coexistence, the State works hard to promote sports as a means to enhance the ability of young people to confront crime and violence, including in the context of preventing violent extremism conducive to terrorism, he added.
HE al-Muraikhi stressed that Qatar realises the importance of the transformative power inherent in sport, and is working to harness this power to its full potential. For example, Qatar is one of the largest donors to the UNOCT, he pointed out, affirming the State’s pride in its funding of the multi-year global program for the Protection of Major Sporting Events and the Use of Sports Values for the Prevention of Violent Extremism.
HE the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said the programme seeks to prevent violent extremism by building resilience, especially among youth, and supports awareness among member states of the threats related to terrorism and against targets at risk in the context of major sporting events. It also supports their capabilities to prevent and combat these threats, within the framework of belief in the responsibility entrusted to the international community to protect major sporting events from terrorist threats, as events that achieve the common good of all mankind, he noted.
Further, HE al-Muraikhi pointed out that the UNOCT’s International Hub on Behavioural Insights to Counter Terrorism, based in Doha, is among the important initiatives that enjoy the support of Qatar. He explained that the center is a global platform for generating knowledge about behavioural visions to prevent and combat terrorism, to disseminate lessons learned and good practices, as well as to create a professional network of experts, academics, practitioners and policy makers.
He said Qatar will host the FIFA World Cup 2022 from November 21 to December 18, the first FIFA World Cup to be held in the Middle East and Arab region. The State views the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 as a tool to set new standards in various fields. For example, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) is working on using sport to drive change through the Generation Amazing programme, which is concerned with harnessing football for development.
The work of the Generation Amazing programme is based on promoting the values of tolerance and respect, empowering youth and encouraging health, education and social inclusion, in addition to promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls, he said.
HE the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs reiterated Qatar’s firm belief that through the transformative power inherent in sport, “we can positively impact local communities and build resilience among children and youth, in the context of the broader goal of preventing the causes of violent extremism.”
He added that sports should be “reinforced and used as an extraordinary generator of positive values with unparalleled unifying power”.
Meanwhile, the ICSS statement said the hybrid event gathered member states (represented through their national focal points), international organisations, sports federations and civil society organisations.
Vladimir Voronkov, Under-Secretary-General of the UNOCT, said: “Sports inspires people to be better, to aim higher and go further. Its reach extends beyond borders and continues to be a common language for all, especially youth. We must protect and promote these values as part of our commitment to preventing violent extremism.”
He added that the contributions made by National Focal Points are vital to sharing practical knowledge and expertise so that the Global Programme can provide technical assistance for the security of major sporting events and the operationalisation of sports-based initiatives within national action plans on the prevention of violent extremism conducive to terrorism.
Voronkov also thanked member states, sport federations, UN agencies and civil society organisations for their commitment to support imminent and future priorities of UNOCT sports-focused programming.
During her intervention, Loroupe stressed that “sports gives us the opportunity to run through our problems, rather than away from them. The values and communities we build in sport give us the endurance to persevere.”
Referring to sports values as a remedy to defend youth from violent extremism and negative messaging, Figo emphasised that “sports unites us. It speaks to us in a language we can all understand. It is for this reason that sport is a powerful tool against hate narrative and violent ideologies.”
Facilitated by Mauro Miedico, Deputy Director and Chief, Special Projects and Innovation Branch of the UNOCT, the event also featured interventions by Nasser al-Khori, Programmes Director at Generation Amazing Foundation and Cahill, Qatar Legacy Ambassador and Chief Sports Officer at Aspire Academy.
Generation Amazing Foundation is the human and social legacy programme of the SC, which has positively impacted more than 725,000 people globally since being launched during Qatar’s bid to host the FIFA World Cup.
A panel discussion on the specific outcomes of the Global Sports Programme featured representatives from the UNOCT, UNAOC, UNICRI and ICSS, and discussed the tools and initiatives developed by the Global Sports Programme across its security and PVE workstreams.
Dignitaries in a group photo.


These include global guides covering the security of major sporting events and the use of sports-based values to prevent violent extremism, a handbook on the integration of sports-based values for PVE purposes into the planning of major sporting events, a global grant initiative supporting civil society organisations implementing sport-based PVE activities, and national focal point networks.
A follow-up discussion with beneficiaries of the UNOCT-led Sports Programme featured the interventions of civil society representatives from the Cameroon-based Local Youth Corner and the Integrated Community Development Initiative in Uganda, who presented the preliminary results of the sport-based grassroots projects for youth funded through the Programme’s Direct Grants Mechanism. Member states and sports federation representatives offered testimonies on the use of programmatic guidance produced by the programme.
HE Hassan al-Thawadi, Secretary-General of the SC, said: “Using the power of sports to provide youth development opportunities has been a key element in our approach to capitalise on the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. We have not only had an impact locally,
but through our legacy programme Generation Amazing Foundation, we have been able to reach remote communities around the world and work alongside our partners to create and deliver carefully curated development trainings to youth from those communities.”
Miguel Ángel Moratinos, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations, noted: “Sports and major sporting events are powerful tools to promote a culture of peace and prevent violent extremism. In this context, it is important to meaningfully engage young people in the design and implementation of sports-based PVE programmes and policies.”
Mohamed Hanzab, Chairman of the ICSS, said: “At the ICSS, we are very pleased to partner with UNOCT, lead of the Global Programme, UNAOC and UNICRI, for the high-level roundtable on the protection of major sporting events and the use of sports values for the prevention of violent extremism, hosted by the State of Qatar. In a world increasingly affected by turmoil and widespread violence, major sporting events and sports at large represent important tools at the disposal of policy and decision-makers to foster dialogue and peace. In sports we learn that the opponent is not an enemy. As such, we need to place the security of sports as a part of our priorities and continue to promote its values to build a new illuminated generation of leaders across nations and sectors.”
Antonia Marie De Meo, Director of the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, said: “We are proud to be part of the Global Programme on security of major sporting events and promotion of sports and its values as a tool to prevent violent extremism. Together, we protect sports and use its powerful values to empower communities and promote human rights. Over the
past two decades, we have developed best practices and technical tools in the field of major events security and prevention of violent extremism. UNICRI’s regional co-operation model is the now the basis of the Global Network of National Focal Points, and through our capacity building expertise we support civil society and youth-led organisations worldwide to build resilience and dialogue.”
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