Empowering Youth Through Sport
Sport has this unique power to celebrate our common humanity. It brings people together – allowing them to meet each other across boundaries, share a common love for the game, compete on equal terms, follow the same rules and respect differences even in competition.
Likewise, SPORT AT THE SERVICE OF HUMANITY believes that Sport has the power to positively transform society when people embrace the values outlined in the Six SSH Principles – COMPASSION, RESPECT, LOVE, BALANCE, ENLIGHTENMENT and JOY. For these Principles to become an integral part of a person’s character, it is imperative that these values are understood and imparted at an early age.
SSH Young Leaders Mentoring Program: Cultivating Today’s Young People
This belief in the importance of working with youth led to the 2018 creation of the SSH Young Leaders Mentoring Program. The Program’s mission is to help shape today’s young people, empowering them to become future role models and leaders in sport and society.
One of the Program’s inaugural Global Mentors is HRH Prince Feisal Al Hussein of Jordan. An early supporter of SSH, HRH Prince Feisal’s passion for the positive connection of Youth and Sport makes him an ideal Mentor.
As a Global Mentor, HRH Prince Feisal has been paired with SSH Young Leader, Anjelina Nadai, a refugee from South Sudan who is a part of the Olympic Refugee Team.
“Being a member of the Olympic Refugee Team gave me hope and a newfound confidence. It showed people that refugees are people too – we are not animals.”
— ANJELINA NADAI on how sport has helped her overcome challenges and given her hope and confidence
Anjelina is only one of thousands of young people benefitting from HRH Prince Feisal’s vision and commitment.
In 2007, HRH Prince Feisal Al Hussein launched the Jordan Olympic Committee’s “Peace Through Sport” pilot initiative. This initiative used sport-based programs as a vehicle to promote social change and transform communities into tolerant, peaceful societies. This initiative would soon-after expand and transform to become Generations For Peace (GFP).
Generations for Peace: A Commitment to Youth
Today, Generations For Peace has grown to become a leading global non-profit peacebuilding organization with its headquarters in Amman, Jordan. Over the past 12 years, GFP has trained and mentored more than 11,400 volunteer leaders of youth in 50 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe. With GFP’s support, their ongoing programs address local issues of conflict and violence, and have touched the lives of more than 524,000 children, youth and adults.
As the only peace-through-sport organization officially recognized by the International Olympic Committee, GFP uses sport as a means to connect with youth and engage them with GFP’s sport-based games. These games provide a vehicle for integrated education and behavioural change. In addition to these sport-based approaches, GFP has also developed arts, advocacy, dialogue, and empowerment activities to support conflict transformation with children, youth, and adults in different contexts.
“The world is beginning to recognise what we at Generations For Peace first realised when I founded it as a peace-through-sport organisation 12 years ago: youth are not only a pivotal component of building peace, but are essential in passing it on – in making it lasting, sustainable, and meaningful in their communities.”
— HRH PRINCE FEISAL AL HUSSEIN, GFP Founder and Chairman
Since the organization’s inception in 2007, their leaders have worked tirelessly to create positive societal change through the young people that they work with. Below are some of their stories.
Friendship in the Face of Division (Kyrgyzstan)
Begimay and Yashko come from Kyrgyz and Uzbek backgrounds, respectively, making their friendship not only unlikely, but often unwelcome. When GFP began implementing peacebuilding activities in Kyrgyzstan’s Batken region, where increased conflict exists between Kyrgyz and Uzbek communities, Begimay and Yashko joined in on the initiatives to bridge the gaps between students attending Uzbek and Kyrgyz schools using sport and arts for peace activities, building an unexpected and uncommon friendship in the process.
Young Women Shaping Future of Peace Building (Ghana)
Growing up in Ghana as a young girl is a difficult task: lower literacy and higher
school drop-out rates make progressing as a woman often difficult and frustrating. Salma is familiar with this reality – and the effects it can have socially and emotionally. Once a bully who treated other students with disrespect and even violence, Salma’s experiences with GFP have turned her life around. She is now a leader of the Sport For Peace activities, an example to her peers, and a young woman who will pave the way for a brighter future.
Overcoming Trauma and Terrorism (Pakistan)
The rate of people internally displace in Pakistan, not to mention the number of Afghani refugees entering into the country in recent years, has been steadily rising. The country was the world’s largest host of refugees in early 2018, making it one of the main focuses for many humanitarian and peacebuilding efforts. Zahid has been using sport for years as a means to help youth, refugees, and IDPs overcome trauma, foster social cohesion, and build peace.
Shadow of Gender-Based Violence (Uganda)
Being victim of or even witness to gender-based violence is a traumatizing experience. Rates of GBV in Uganda, particularly, are impacting staggering numbers of individuals. James witnessed the violence his mother faced almost daily as he grew up, and her experience inspired him to help put an end to GBV. Now he volunteers with GFP, using sport-based activities in Ugandan schools to address School-Related GBV, empowering youth to build peace and transform conflict that exists along the lines of gender in Uganda.
More Than a Number – Ruba’s Story
To many, Ruba might be just one of 11 million refugees affected by the Syrian Crisis. But Ruba is more than a statistic: she is a mother, a daughter, a friend who, like many, has been deeply impacted by the Syrian Civil War. Yet she has found a source of hope in volunteering with Generations For Peace, where she works with youth from Lebanese, Palestinian, and Syrian backgrounds, bringing them together to build peace through sport.
“Investing in youth today is one of the most powerful strategies for paving the road toward peace tomorrow. That is why Generations For Peace is committed to engaging youth from the grassroots in their own communities and inspiring them to participate and take on roles of leadership in peacebuilding. Through them, we can help communities overcome deep-seated prejudices and break down persistent barriers, transforming conflict and building sustainable peace for this generation and those to come.”
— DR. MOHANNED AL ARABIAT, President, Generations For Peace
Using Sport to Build a Brighter Future
Since founding GFP, HRH Prince Feisal has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to GFP and his mission to empower young people through sport. Under his leadership, in 2019, Generations For Peace rose to the #29 ranking in NGO Advisor’s Top 500 NGOs. Additionally, they significantly expanded their Jordan programmes, and presented at numerous global conferences, including the Geneva Peace Talks in Switzerland, the Dream Together Forum in South Korea, and a Narratives for Peace event in New York City.
It is our hope that today’s young people will look to HRH Prince Feisal and recognize the incredible difference that he is making in the world through his dedication to the Six Principles. Together with the leaders of his organization, he is harnessing the values of sport to create positive social change.
Sport at the Service of Humanity encourages today’s youth to follow the example being set by HRH Prince Feisal so that they too can become future sport leaders and role models who use the power of their sport to inspire and transform the world for good.
Like GFP, Sport at the Service of Humanity believes that in order to build a more peaceful and tolerant world for future generations, we need to start now – nurturing today’s young people and instilling positive values that become part of their character, in the hopes that they become enlightened, empathetic leaders and role models of tomorrow.