ICSS, partners shed light of role of sports in preventing violent extremism

The International Center for Sport Security (ICSS) joined its partners in the Global Sports Program led by the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Office (UNOCT) in partnership with the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) in a virtual roundtable on the power of sport to prevent violent extremism (PVE). Organized to mark the first commemoration of the International Day to Prevent Violent Extremism as and when conducive to terrorism, the event brought together professional athletes, civil society organisations, youth leaders and representatives of international organisations, sports federations and Member States. Building on the UNOCT-led global sports program’s #MoreThanAGame campaign, the roundtable provided a platform for in-depth discussions on sport-based PVE policymaking and activities, Grassroots Sport for Development (S4D) tools, and the role of athletes and sporting events in promotion peaceful, inclusive and prosperous societies. Opening the event, Mauro Miedico, UNCCT Deputy Director and Head of the Special Projects and Innovation Department, stressed that sporting events are often targets of terrorist groups because of the values ​​they espouse, to build resilient societies and to prevent the attraction to violent ideologies since Sport has the power to instill fundamental values ​​such as tolerance, respect, inclusion and solidarity that can counteract the drivers of radicalization that lead to violent extremism,” he added. Massimiliano Montanari, CEO of ICSS, said: “As we pay tribute to the International Day for the Prevention of Violent Extremism as and when it is conducive to terrorism, we participate in this event to remind ourselves that every single day in the Fighting violent extremism matters. We are building the House of Dialogue brick by brick, paving the way for social inclusion and empowering youth leaders through the values ​​of sport.” Leif Villadsen, UNICRI Deputy Director, remarked: “By highlighting the vital experience and hard work of civil society community organizations running sport-based PVE projects, this roundtable was an important platform for collaboration and learning between stakeholders.” Bram Van Haver, speaking on behalf of UNAOC High Representative Miguel Angel Moratinos, said: “Sport is a key tool for preventing violent extremism as it transcends geographic boundaries. The universal popularity of sport offers the opportunity to attract and mobilize people of all ages, cultures and religions, making it a unique tool for peacebuilding.” Jassim al-Ali, Events Director of Generation Amazing Foundation (GA), added: “ Youth organizations can play a very crucial role in resilience against violent extremism. Through the power of sport, we can engage young people to create change in their communities through these organizations.” can positively impact lives across borders, generations and communities, and build resilience to violent extremism and hate narratives. Isabella Echeverri, Colombian soccer player and ambassador for the Save the Dream movement, said athletes are role models both on and off the pitch, Khalida Popal, former captain of the Afghan women’s soccer team and founder and director of the Girl Power Organization, said: “Growin In one of men dominated country and a war zone, football has proven it can create unity and create a safe space for women to speak out about the issues they face in Afghanistan. (…) Now that I am a refugee outside my country and facing challenges between minorities and local communities, I try again to use sport as a means to bring people together and religions. This introduction changed my life. We play as a team on the pitch and have the same goals. These sporting values ​​can easily be transferred from the pitch to the community,” said Masereka Wilber, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who participated in an integrated community development initiative sports program and previously shared his story as part of the #MoreThanAGame campaign. To commemorate the International Day, UNOCT – through its Doha-based Behavioral Insights Hub and Global Sports Program – launched an exclusive sports podcast series, “Power of the Pitch.” The podcast explores how behavioral insights are applied to sport and how violent Address extremism factors that may be conducive to te rrorism

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