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On the pitch, everyone speaks the universal language of sports. The language brings together people of different communities, ethnicities, cultures, and religions. It makes enemies become friends. On the field, everyone must follow values including “teamwork, fairness, discipline, respect for the opponent and the rules of the game”. All these characteristics are related to peace, and thus can be used to promote “social cohesion and peaceful coexistence”.
In 2009, the UN peacekeeping operation in the Ivory Coast held a soccer tournament between the government and rebel forces. The match was aimed at promoting respect, unity, and reconciliation through communication while playing on the pitch.
In the aftermath of a civil-war, the UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia, the International Olympic Committee, and the UNOSDP worked together to run a sports program in Liberia that aimed at creating peace between conflicting communities
To read more UN projects that use sports for peace, please click here