Rabat, Morocco: Recognizing the role of youth in mobilizing action to prevent violent extremism (PVE) through sport-based activities, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) convened young civil society leaders from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in an intergenerational dialogue with key stakeholders.
The event was organized within the framework of the Global Programme on the Security of Major Sporting Events and the Promotion of Sport and its Values as a Tool to Prevent Violent Extremism (“Global Programme”), which is led by the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), in partnership with UNAOC, the United Nations Interregional Crime and
Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), and the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS).
Sports have historically played a significant role in the promotion of peace and development by fostering positive values across societies.
Additionally, young people continue to affirm their leadership as key drivers of sustainable peace in identifying and addressing the triggers of
violent extremism through their innovation and diversity in their actions and rationale.
In fact, the United Nations acknowledges the impact of young people through UNSCR 2535 (2020), among other noteworthy resolutions, by calling upon Member States to improve the capacity-building and inclusion of youth in key peace processes.
“Sport is one of the key tools to prevent violent extremism as it transcends beyond geographical borders. The universal popularity of sport presents an opportunity to attract and mobilize people of all ages, cultures and religions, making it a unique peacebuilding tool. To this end, UNAOC
celebrates sport as a powerful tool to foster cohesive and inclusive societies,” said Miguel Moratinos, High Representative for UNAOC, said in his opening video remarks.
In this context, UNAOC provided a platform for young leaders from Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, and Qatar to lend their voices to conversations on PVE policymaking, grassroots S4D as well as the role of athletes and sporting events in promoting inclusive and diverse societies.
The intergenerational dialogue underscored the power of sport to promote increased youth participation in national and regional PVE strategies and reaffirmed the role of youth in fostering sustainable peace and development in the MENA region.