Jordan’s crown prince to set up ‘Peace Through Sport’ movement

JORDAN's Crown Prince Faisal Al Hussein is in the process of setting up a movement called “Peace Through Sport”, their project director told AFP yesterday. 

Part of the plan would be for the country to act as a base for hundreds of youngsters from conflict-hit regions of Asia to provide them with respite from their domestic turmoil. 

“We want to bring 200 kids from war torn countries to Jordan,” Sarah Kabbani said. 

“We would like to bring children from Iraq, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Syria.” 

“The knock on effect could be enormous. We like to call it the 'cascade effect' whereby young children from opposing factions begin to talk to each other and see they are not that different after all. 

“Then they return home and obviously if it has been successful they spread the word so you get the cascade effect like a waterfall.” 

Crown Prince Faisal, the 43-year-old younger brother of King Abdullah, believes that such ideas can help towards peace in the strife-torn Middle East. 

“There hasn't ever been a greater need,” said Kabbani. 

“Looking at our region, North and South Korea and others, we believe sport can be a powerful tool. It is a trend that started at the end of the 1990s.” 

However, Kabbani said that the Prince wanted to take this trend a step further and set up a body that could have a real and permanent impact. 

“We are due to meet with the United Nations in Geneva later this month and have already drawn interest from IOC president Jacques Rogge,” she said. 

“Olympic Council of Asia president Sheikh Ahmed al-Sabah is very happy with it and wants us to set up a commission involving some NOCs and IOC members.” 

Kabbani said that while there had been several other similar movements, they had never lasted long or got the profile they deserved. 

“The major one I believe started with football in Serbia but while there are a lot of these types of programmes nothing appears to be long term. 

“The difference with us is that our idea will be to use lots of sports bringing them together. The international federations wish to support it but nothing is set in stone.” 

Kabbani said that the costs would be enormous so they would have to establish it as a charity and their first idea had been to bring children into the process. – AFP 

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