San Marino: A Soccer for Peace
By UPF San Marino
The Most Excellent Regency received Friday, September 2 at 12:30 a mixed group of Israeli and Israeli Arab children. The kids were greeted warmly by the Captains Regent and have emphasized that sport in general and football in particular are the important tools to promote peace. Secretary of State Giuseppe Morganti introduced the group to the Captains Regent inspired by many stories of the recent Olympic Games to show the beauty of the human spirit.
They stayed in the first week of September here in San Marino invited by the Universal Peace Federation. The project is supported by the San Marino Football Federation, they were hosted and involved in the structures of FSGC (Federazione Sammarinese Giuoco Calcio) from Thursday 1 until Thursday, September 8, with workouts together to build mutual trust on the part of the delegation (mixed) of 19 people: 14 young people: (5 Jewish children, 5 Muslims and 4 Arab Christians) 4 Adults: (2 Coaches and 1 coordinator and an Israeli Arab parliamentarian, radio sportscaster). They held friendly meetings with local youth teams; the implementation is done by the program “How to Become a True Champion”.
How can soccer help build peace?
Educate to the true meaning of sport – soccer helps young people to develop the values of teamwork and fair play. Promoting Wellness – soccer promotes a mind and a healthy body and helps to develop a positive physical force. Give a positive direction to the youth – soccer brings joy and inspiration and channeling the energy of young people towards positive goals. Resolve conflicts and prevent violence – soccer gives an opportunity to young Palestinians and Israelis to know each other as future leaders of their respective nations.
It is however necessary a favorable, neutral environment for this real process of reconciliation through sport can begin. San Marino (and Italy) are seen by both Israel and Palestine as favorable nations, meeting ground, without prejudices and non-partisan. This project falls within the context of the initiatives for peace in the Middle East and as such will have wide coverage in the context of the Economic and Social Commission of the United Nations.
Bringing mixed teams (Israeli-Palestinian) youth – beginning with the under-12 to play friendly football matches with Sammarinese counterparts and have the opportunity to train together. Allow kids to meet and build in freedom of team cohesion and friendship (looks really complex to implement in Israel today between Israelis and Palestinians). Give the kids a special occasion, an emotionally unique moment: the encounter with our football tradition and, consistent with their commitment to sport, with important figures of reference.
The project run very well. The kids integrated well with each other and with the local kids. All of them were very moved in the end. The Soccer Federation of San Marino is eager to support more projects like that. They gave a very openly support to the initiative of UPF. The Sport News made a nice video about it and in the evening news there was a good interview to the MP from Israel, MK Zouheir Bahloul.