AMMAN, April 17, 2012 - Generations For Peace, the international non-profit organisation founded by HRH Prince Feisal Al Hussein and dedicated to sustainable peace building and the use of sport for conflict transformation, today celebrated its fifth anniversary, with events to mark the occasion taking place in the Middle East, Europe and Africa.
HRH Prince Feisal, who is a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and President of the Jordan Olympic Committee, founded Generations For Peace on 16 April 2007 as a way of harnessing sport’s unparalleled capacity to unite and inspire long-term, sustainable change. The unique grass roots initiative specialises in empowering leaders of youth to implement bespoke peace building programmes to address conflict and violence in their own communities.
In five short years, Generations For Peace has trained and mentored almost 6,000 delegates in 48 countries and territories in the Middle East, Europe, Africa and Asia. Between them, they have engaged more than 90,000 children through more than 400 peace building programmes. In 2010, Generations For Peace became one of just two peace through sport organisations to be officially recognised by the IOC.
HRH Prince Feisal Al Hussein marked the fifth anniversary of his founding of Generations For Peace in his speech to the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) in Moscow yesterday, updating the 205 National Olympic Committees of the Olympic family on the progress Generations For Peace has made in the last five years. He described the vision he had when founding Generations For Peace, a vision that has become a reality in the last five years:
“The concept was bold. Bring together volunteer leaders of youth from different backgrounds and different countries. Train them in a new curriculum providing a unique combination of conflict transformation through sport, theory with practical application, teaching and facilitation. Enable them to share their own experiences and to learn from each other. Mentor them on their return home to further develop their own skills and apply practically their experience.
Provide them with the tools to pass on the knowledge to more leaders of youth volunteers and engage more children in activities. Guide them to organise their own peace through sport programmes based on the needs and assets of their communities. Help them to replicate the mentoring they received with the volunteer leaders of youth who they themselves trained locally. Invest into their peace building initiatives and develop local partnerships to ensure that their impacts are sustained. In brief: empower them to change themselves, and change their communities, for the better.”
HRH Prince Feisal went on to outline some of the key factors in the success of Generations For Peace to date. He praised the work of the Generations For Peace Pioneers, each volunteer change-makers in their communities:
“They are talented, passionate, and inspirational to young and old alike. We in Generations For Peace have learned as much from our Pioneers as they have learned from us. In pursuing their passion for peace, they have engaged more than 90,000 children in peace building sport-based games. That’s more than the full capacity of the London 2012 Olympic Stadium.
“We have supported and mentored our Delegates and Pioneers whilst they have implemented more than 400 peace building programmes in their own communities, not only engaging children and youth but also influencing parents, teachers and community leaders.”
HRH also noted the important contribution of the research and development work of the Generations For Peace Institute and its partners Georgetown University and University of Oxford, and the crucial support of partnerships with stakeholders in the Olympic Movement and beyond:
“But all this cannot be done alone. Our reach is extended and our sustainability strengthened by more than 35 partnerships with key local, regional, and continental partnerships.”
Remarking on the achievements of Pioneers in different countries, HRH Prince Feisal noted:
“Sometimes the maths is extraordinary. One of our Pakistani Pioneers, Zahid, is just one young man but, with only a small group of volunteers he recruited, he has been working for a year now with 9,300 children in one of the world’s largest camps for refugees and IDPs. At first, the camp’s community elders did not want him and his peace through sport programmes. Today, the elders of the main nine tribes living in the camp keep inviting Zahid back to implement more programmes and train others, so that they can watch even more children - both boys and girls - play and laugh together and put aside their tribal differences.”
But HRH Prince Feisal stressed the need to remember the human stories behind the numbers:
“Behind each number is a human story. If we ever forget that, then we open the door to indifference. And indifference lies at the heart of inaction. We remember because we care, and because we feel we must act.”
Generations For Peace programmes around the world address many different forms of conflict and violence. HRH Prince Feisal explained that:
“Conflict is not only war; it is violence against children; gender inequality; social exclusion; inequality and discrimination between social, ethnic, racial, religious, and regional groups, or people with a disability
HRH Prince Feisal noted that “we still have so much more to do” and urged stakeholders and partners to continue to work together so that “through simple, well coordinated and efficiently organised joint activities and programmes that use local assets and are based on local needs, that are easy to scale up and are replicable, we can help each other provide our youth of today with a better tomorrow.”
From Generations of Peace