H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco Highlights the Work of “Peace and Sport” in Timor Leste
On the occasion of His official State visit in Timor Leste, H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco brought His support to the activities of the international organization “Peace and Sport”, of which He is the Patron, in this newly-independent country.
During His visit to the university in Dili where an event organized by “Peace and Sport” was taking place, the Prince heard about all the activities led by the international organization in this country, by meeting young sportspeople from Timor, the Secretary of State for Sport, the President of the Timor National Olympic Committee and Presidents of National Sports Federations as well as NGO partners of “Peace and Sport”.
He reiterated the commitment of “Peace and Sport” and of the Principality of Monaco to promote sustainable peace in Timor Leste through sport, seen as a key factor in social stabilisation and reinstating institutions, by its participation in educating and reconciling the population.
H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco declared :“In communities undergoing a crisis, in regions confronted with war, very often dialogue provides the only path to peace. This is why I’m convinced that sport, which enables men and women to communicate, can be placed durably in the service of Peace. It contributes to changing mentalities and instilling meaning to the lives of young generations and helps develop the civic-mindedness essential to community life. Consequently, I would be most pleased for the Peace and Sport Association, which I manage, to be able to put into practice in Dili its motto: Sport in the service of Peace. The Government wishes to develop a forward-looking policy for young people, I would very much like Monaco to bring its support through the Peace and Sport Association in the spirit of political neutrality that my country embraces.”
Thanks to the support of Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao and in close collaboration with major figures from politics, sport and local associations, “Peace and Sport”, a neutral organization, is acting at an institutional level as well as on a grass-roots level. In particular, it helps the government to define longterm sports policy, to promote sports education and access to sporting activities.
The organization provides technical assistance to actors involved in defining and structuring a legal framework of sports practice in Timor Leste and to help National Federations accomplish their objectives.
“Peace and Sport” also initiates activities for the population, particularly in communities living in postconflict areas, by helping to organize a wide-scale national sporting event just before the Olympic Games, a symbol of unification and reconciliation in the country.
Finally, with support from NGOs, the sports movement and United Nations agencies on site, “Peace and Sport” is deploying a programme for social reintegration and education for vulnerable young people. Two Youth Centres with capacity to accommodate 250 people each have been renovated with the organization’s backing. Other activities planned in Dili will mean that 500 young people living in difficulty will have access to sporting facilities.
At the end of this important visit, Joël Bouzou, Founder and President of “Peace and Sport” gave his opinion:“The support of a prominent figure so involved in sport and humanitarian activity, H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, is an inestimable advantage for “Peace and Sport”. We are infinitely grateful to His High Patronage and His total commitment to our cause. In Timor Leste our activities enable us to change the lives of thousands of youngsters who are outcasts. We can do this because we have legitimacy conferred on us due to our institutional neutrality, our independence and our ability to bring different actors together around one single approach. These prerogatives are made possible by the fact that we are based in Monaco, a neutral state.”
During his Official Visit, H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco was received by Timor Leste’s President and Noble Peace Prize-winner José Ramos-Horta, who had returned to his country yesterday, two months after having been seriously injured by gunshot wounds. “Peace and Sport” was the first International Organization to visit East Timor after this assassination attempt.
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