11 Apr 2018 – 9:53

Sport has transformative power: Al Thawadi

SC Secretary-General Hassan Al Thawadi at the opening session of the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime’s special event.

The Peninsula

DOHA: Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) Secretary-General Hassan Al Thawadi provided remarks during the official opening session of the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime’s special event entitled ‘Crime Prevention and Sustainable Development Through Sports’, during which he discussed the transformative power of sport and Qatar’s vision for the first Middle Eastern FIFA World Cup.

Miroslav Lajcak, President of the United Nations General Assembly and former Slovakian Foreign Minister, opened the event at the UN headquarters in New York, which brought together a wide array of figures including: member state representatives at ministerial and permanent representative level, distinguished athletes, sporting personalities, United Nations Goodwill Ambassadors, civil society, academia, the private sector, media, and international organisations.

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The date of the event was selected to coincide with the UN’s International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, which falls every year on April 6, in commemoration of the inauguration of the first Olympic Games (1896) of the modern era.

Al Thawadi spoke of the importance of a multilateral approach toward ensuring sport’s transformative power is properly utilised for the benefit of societies across the world and for the purpose of attaining the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

He said: “Our collective challenge is to convey to the world sport’s power to transcend languages, faiths and culture and unite people. We must ensure that access to sport is facilitated and encouraged at all levels of society, whether as an educational tool in the developing world, or at the organisational level of a mega-event such as the 2022 FIFA World Cup.”

“Hosting the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East is an opportunity that we consider of the utmost importance for the benefit of our wider region and the Arab world as a whole,” he continued.

“We aren’t going to settle for hosting a month of football and then watch the world move on.  We view the event as a catalyst for Qatar and the region to accelerate social progress and to build a better future for generations to come.”

The State of Qatar’s Permanent Representative to the UN, H E Sheikha Alya bint Ahmed bin Saif Al Thani, said: “Qatar’s commitment to improving society through sport is a key pillar in our international cooperation through the United Nations.

“Today’s event brought together leaders in the field of sport development and showcased the shared determination that exists to make a difference in society at all levels through sporting initiatives.”

After the event’s conclusion, Al Thawadi attended the unveiling of the “Hey Ya (Let’s Go): Arab Women in Sport” photography exhibition, which was opened by H E Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, founder and Chairperson of Qatar Museums.

The exhibit, curated by Brigitte and Marian Lacombe, is located at the United Nations’ Delegates’ Entrance, visually showcasing how sports empower Arab women and youths’ daily lives.