Youth Sports Can Help Inspire Peace, Jordan’s Prince Feisal Says

Encouraging young people from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds to play sports can “inspire” peace, said Prince Feisal Al Hussein, the second-oldest son of the late King Hussein of Jordan and brother of King Abdullah. He spoke in an interview at the inauguration of the Generations For Peace Institute in Amman today.

On the program:

“The idea is to use sports as a tool to bring kids together and really learn to look at each other as individuals and as human beings and not that you come from a tribe, race or religion. Through the power of sports and life lessons that we can teach through sports hopefully we can teach tolerance, understanding, respect for rule of law, and develop team work.

“We have had delegates from 46 countries over three continents including the Arab world who have gone back to use the power of sports to better their communities. Even with recent issues we are facing within the region, sports is not going to solve all the problems of the world but it can play a part in helping build and unite communities.

“There has always been a need. There are not enough initiatives that look at peace, that try to build unity and look at bridging divides that exist within communities.”

“It’s very easy for countries, government, organizations to sign a paper and say right we are at peace now. It’s very difficult to make that felt on the ground.”

On financing:

“We have in the past had the support of the Jordan Olympic Committee, some seed funding from Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed of the UAE who loved the idea and wanted to get us off our feet.”

“We are also now looking to work on building up sponsorship from other organizations and donors from the corporate side. We are working with the UN and have support from the International Olympic Committee. We are getting more and more stakeholders who are interested in what we are doing and seeing what we are doing on the ground.”

On peace in the region:

“I am always an optimist. I think that peace will be achieved. If we look at anybody anywhere in the world what do they want to do? They want to be able to live normal lives, to live in a secure environment in a society free of violence, free of hatred, of conflict. That’s what we all want. I think the more that we can do to make that a reality on the ground, slowly we will make a difference. But peace doesn’t come easily and it doesn’t come naturally unfortunately. Sport will not impose peace but it will inspire it. We are not building peace for us but for future generations.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Massoud A. Derhally in Amman at mderhally@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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