In 2014, more than one million people from over 200 countries flocked to Brazil to watch the world's best footballers play in the 2014 FIFA World Cup—and that's not counting the billions who tuned in on television or online.
Talk about a global reach.
Sport has the unique power to unite communities, create an equal playing field and build important bridges towards peace. That's why we're so excited to celebrate the second annual International Day of Sport for Development and Peace on April 6. We harness the power of play to change the world.
Last year, our staff in Lebanon hosted a recreational football tournament for 12 teams from across the country, including various refugee camps. The 160 Lebanese, Palestinian and Syrian youth were given a special objective.
More than scoring goals, these players were rewarded for showing values of fair play, respect and gender equality. Red and yellow cards in the game shared messages of peace. While everyone involved had fun, they also walked away with life-changing lessons of peace: to accept, respect and understand one another's differences.
"In all the tournaments we participated in, our main focus was to win!" said Majdi Majzoub from the Shabab Felistine Club. "However, this wasn't our aim in this Play Day! We were playing to spread the methodology of football as a main component to peace and development."
From Brazil's biggest stage to Lebanon's local tournaments, play has the potential to bring communities together and break down boundaries towards peace.