The permanent delegation of Qatar to the United Nations, the permanent delegation of the United States of America, the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism and the Football for Peace Organisation organised a virtual symposium in New York on football and peace.
Under the title ‘Football for Peace, Unlocking the Power of Football’, the participants in the symposium sought to focus on the important partnership established by Qatar to prevent and combat violent extremism and terrorism.
They also highlighted World Cup 2022 hosted by Qatar, its role in empowering youth and women in the Middle East, the Arab world and the rest of the world and the vital role that football plays in the present and future of countries.
HE the Permanent Representative of Qatar to the United Nations Ambassador Sheikha Alya Ahmed bin Saif al-Thani opened the symposium by saying that Qatar is truly aware of the power of sport and is investing this power to its fullest potential.
She pointed out to the inclusion of sport in Qatar’s programmes for local co-operation and development as a means to address complex social issues and to achieve sustainable development goals.
As we approach the first World Cup tournament in Qatar, the Middle East and the Arab world, HE Sheikha Alya hailed the achievements of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, which is responsible for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
Through its programme “Generation Amazing”, it was able to drive change and engage more than 500,000 people from Asia and the Middle East with the aim of empowering youth and women around the world to enhance focus on health, education and community integration as values that address the causes of extremism, she added.
She expressed her pride at the opening of Doha International Center for Behavioral Insights to Combat Terrorism in December, which was established as a programme office of the United Nations Office to Counter-Terrorism in Doha.
The centre will work to develop research in behavioural sciences to better understand the drivers and factors that contribute to violent extremism and terrorism, in addition to providing capacity-building assistance to Member States, regional organisations and civil society partners to develop and implement programmes, projects and initiatives that integrate behavioural insights and enhance communication and partnerships to share knowledge, experience and best practices, HE noted.
HE Sheikha Alya expressed her belief that the centre will deal with sport as an effective force to combat extremism and terrorism. She called to include sport in post-Covid-19 recovery plans, adding that sport is a key element in mitigating the impact of the pandemic on health and well-being and in building back better.
The symposium was attended by HE the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism Vladimir Voronkov, and HE the Deputy Coordinator for Countering Violent Extremism Bureau of Counterterrorism at the US State Department Christopher Harnich.
Football for Peace co-founder Kashif Siddiqi also participated as well as a number of women and men football players, a number of government, civil society organisations and private sector representatives to emphasise partnership in investing in sport as a force for peace and to combat extremism and terrorism.
This event is the second that comes within the framework of dialogue through sport – partnerships that prevent violent extremism. It comes through the existing co-operation between Qatar and the United States in combating terrorism and violent extremism, as the first event was organised at the United Nations headquarters in New York on September 25, 2019.