September 17 2003
The 2003 Global Peace Games for Children and Youth
Innsbruck/New Jersey (17 September 2003) - Thousands of children and youth around the world will unite in friendship and peace, when the 2003 Global Peace Games get underway at various venues on or around September 21 - the United Nations International Day of Peace. Whether in Africa, Asia, Europe or the Americas, these friendly Games will promote cultural understanding and non-violence among the world's youngest citizens.
The Global Peace Games will primarily feature soccer games as well as other sporting events, educational presentations and music performances. These activities will be held in the spirit of the United Nations, which proclaimed the world's children were the central focus of the International Decade for the Culture of Peace and Non-violence. In many regions, such as the Palestinian Territories, the Games will serve as an emotional distraction to ongoing violent conflicts that affect the daily lives of children.
The initiator of the Games is the non-governmental organisation PLAY SOCCER. Together with its partners SOS Children's Villages and with the support of world soccer's governing body FIFA, PLAY SOCCER will be leading a coalition of non-governmental civil society organisations that will be organising the Games at local level. Many SOS Children's Villages, SOS Hermann Gmeiner Schools and other facilities will provide venues for football matches, games and events and invite children and young people from the neighbouring communities to take part.
Children participating in the Global Peace Games will have the opportunity to sign a Manifesto drafted for UNESCO by Nobel Peace Laureates, which will later be handed over to Kofi Annan. This activity will serve to symbolically unite children around the globe in a voluntary common commitment to improve human lives.
"By participating (in the Global Peace Games) we come to appreciate what can be accomplished through individual excellence, disciplined teamwork, and a shared respect for the rules of the game," said United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan. "These values are as important in the community of nations as they are in our local communities."
Adolf Ogi, the Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General on Sport for Development and Peace, applauded the Games that he said would teach young people "to win with modesty, overcome defeat in a dignified way, to integrate in a team and to show respect towards opponents and rules." He added that: "These positive values of sport are essential for life and hold the potential to create a more democratic and equal world."
The Global Peace Games were first held in New York City in 1999 and have since expanded to venues around the world. Countries and territories taking part in this year's edition include: Algeria, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Benin, Bosnia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Canada, Dominican Republic, Egypt, France, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Israel, Jamaica, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Malawi, Mali, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Palestinian Territories, Panama, Paraguay, Romania, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, Uruguay, USA, Virgin Islands, Zambia, Zanzibar, Zimbabwe.
Contact SOS-Kinderdorf International:
Ms Doris Kirchebner
Tel: +43/512/3310-171 email@example.com Contact PLAY SOCCER:
Ms Judy McPherson