Highlighting the power of sport in breaking down barriers and creating inter-cultural dialogue, global foundation Save the Dream and the International Olympic Truce Centre (IOTC) hosted the ‘When Sport Breaks Down Walls – Expanding the Movement’ forum during the ‘2019 World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon + 21) and Youth Forum’.
The World Conference was opened by the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and attended by María Fernanda Espinosa, president of the United Nations General Assembly; Jayathma Wickramanayake, United Nations secretary-general’s envoy on Youth; Hugo Carvalho, president of the Portuguese National Youth Council; Tiago Brandão Rodrigues, Minister of Education of Portugal; and other dignitaries.
The event was built on the on the outcomes of the Berlin International Youth Forum initiated by Save the Dream and IOTC in collaboration with the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations (UNAOC), which was a tribute to the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and took place during the International Day on Sport for Development and Peace.
An initiative of the Doha-based International Centre for Sport Security, Save the Dream is a global non-profit Movement of organisations, people and athletes who believe in the power of sport to build more fair and inclusive societies.
The forum brought together international sport champions, Olympians and other high-profile speakers for an open discussion to share and develop ideas on the use of sport to promote inter-cultural dialogue, peace and reconciliation.
Paulo Sousa, football manager and former national Portuguese team player, winner of the Champions League with Juventus and Borussia Dortmund, said: “To begin with, we must respect others in order to claim respect to ourselves. We must be honest in what we do and use our visibility and fame to communicate the values of sport in a positive way. It’s the energy of passion that drives us to accomplish whatever goal. ‘Passion, respect and honesty’ is the way to use sport.”
Nuno Delgado, Judo Olympic medallist, said: “People are more important than medals. We athletes are creative agents; agents of change and therefore are part of culture. Sport is a cultural expression. With effort, sacrifice, training and team work we can reach whatever medals we set to win in our lives.”
Rocio Cervera, deputy executive director of the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe, noted: “Sport transcends geographies and breaks development barriers. Sport empowers global citizens and contributes to intercultural dialogue. We must stand together for gender equality in full access to sport.”
João Paulo Almeida, NOC director-general, added: “The word ‘success’ only comes before ‘work’ in the dictionaries. Sport, as stated in the Olympic Charter, offers the best examples of surpassing, of effort, of sacrifice or resilience and expresses, in general, the human environment from which it derives.”
Vanessa Arelle, social entrepreneur and cultural strategist, pointed out: “The work of each institution and association is vital for building bridges and demolishing walls in the effort to support youth around the world. After our side event at the 2019 World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth and Youth Forum, in the company of such representative leaders, I am more convinced than ever that such efforts are fundamental for social and economic development. And, with and open mind and view towards including innovative technology, the impact can only grow”.
Rui Carvalho, national co-ordinator, School Sports Portugal, said: “School sports play a key role for grassroots sport, sport for all and for the dissemination of humanitarian and social values. Sports School is a key factor to promote the values and principles associated with active citizenship and the overall social dimension, favouring social integration to fight against discrimination and intolerance.”
Massimiliano Montanari, executive director at Save the Dream, said: “Sport is a universal language. It breaks down the walls of social differences and build bridges across nations. Sport champions are instrumental in delivering the message of unity, intercultural dialogue and peace to the younger generations. We are proud to be here today in Lisbon at the ‘2019 World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon + 21) and Youth Forum, continuing the movement we started in Berlin.”