Play for Peace

Miriam Mannak interviews PRINCE FEISAL of Jordan

Published on IPSnews, by Miriam Mannak, March 13, 2009.

AMMAN, Mar 13 (IPS) – Sport could be one way of alleviating the thousands of children drawn into armed conflicts around the world. Certainly Prince Feisal Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan, also president of the Jordanian Olympic Committee, believes this, and has been using sports to heal traumatised children all his life.
In 2007 Prince Feisal, brother of King Abdullah II, established a Peace Through Sport Committee under the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), of which he is currently the chairman. The aim of this working group is to promote peace-building across Asia. In that same year, he founded Generations For Peace GFP – an organisation that trains youth workers from conflict zones around the world to use sport in unifying youths at the local level. Prince Feisal spoke to IPS about this work …

excerpt of the interview: … IPS: There are quite a few initiatives out there that use sport as a tool for peace building. What makes GFP different?

PF: The key difference between GFP and other organisations is the cascading effect. Take our train the trainer programme, for example. It means that you might start off with one person working with children and teach them about sport and peace, but growing to 20 trainers in a year’s time.

We are also a very sustainable organisation. We do not dish out money and leave the grass-root projects to be established on their own. We remain involved, always.

People do ask me sometimes why I am doing this, as there are so many sports and peace building initiatives out there already. I actually believe we don’t have enough such projects. I think that any project that brings people together and promotes peace, understanding and tolerance is necessary. Especially in this day and age in which you only have to switch on your TV to see all the violence in the world.

The global economic turmoil will fuel more violence. Usually, when the going gets tough people tend to blame their problems on everyone else. People become less tolerant, less respectful. This often results in violence. That is why we need to double our efforts to combat this trend.

This is exactly why we need to get far more people involved in making the world a better place by promoting peace. Together we can make a difference. Eventually we will get there. We just start with one child and youth worker at a time. (END /2009). (full text).

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