Ms. Sandrine Salerno, Mayor of the City of Geneva, kicks the ball
On 17 September, a team of diplomats faced a team of high-school students on a football field in Geneva to mark International Day of Peace, the start of the International Year of Youth and the “Stand Up Against Poverty” campaign.
During the match, organized by the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), together with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP), a team composed of diplomats from Permanent Missions in Geneva and staff members of United Nations agencies in Geneva valiantly tried to fend off repeated attacks by local high-school students. The final score was 8 to 1 in favour or the younger team.
Before the match, Mr. Sergei Ordzhonikidze, UNOG Director-General, Ms. Sandrine Salerno, Mayor of the City of Geneva and Ms. Cecile Molinier, Director of the UNDP European Office at Geneva had addressed the teams, urging them to score at least eight goals, one for each of the Millennium Development Goals. The final result, with a total of nine goals scored, thus exceeded expectations.
The United Nations aimed, through this initiative, to reach out to the Geneva public, particularly young people, and encourage them to engage in action in the fields of peace and development. Ms. Molinier stressed that each individual, regardless of his age and background could make a difference in the fields of peace and development, and that committing to collective action was even more effective.
After the match, the players were presented with commemorative medals.
The match was played with special balls donated by UNOSDP. Made of 24 % of recycled rubber materials, these balls were specially designed to withstand the harsh surface conditions of a refugee camp.