Participants getting fit
In observance of the first-ever International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, UNO Baku, in partnership with Generations for Peace Azerbaijan, Hilton Baku and “Sport for Development” Public Union, organized a round-table discussion to highlight the role of sport as a universal tool for peace. The event took place on 5 April at Hilton Baku Hotel and brought together representatives from various community organizations, the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Child Youth Football Federation, the Community Development Centre, the Refugee Women and Youth Centre, Youth Peer Education Network (Y-PEER) Azerbaijan, and other members of civil society to discuss the benefits of sport and a healthy lifestyle in the context of broader social development and peace.
The UNO Baku team was given the privilege of officially opening the event by reading aloud the Secretary-General’s message on the occasion of the Day. “Sport helps us in spreading messages of peace, driving social change and meeting the Millennium Development Goals” echoed UNO Baku's Information Assistant, Zaka Guluyev, while reading out the Secretary-General’s message.
“Hilton Baku is delighted to host today’s celebration as a part of our corporate social responsibility; we are very enthusiastic about being a part of this new and exciting UN international day”, said Hilton Baku representative, Ms. Elmira Valiullova, while welcoming those in attendance.
During the roundtable discussion, Mr. Musayev, a representative from “Sport for Development” Public Union presented a number of thought-provoking case studies of sports projects implemented in Azerbaijan, and shared insight into the lessons learned through these projects, stressing the importance of sport for youth which, “allows [youth] to develop themselves as active and productive members of society”. The round-table discussion continued with a heated debate over the subject of sport as a potential platform for the advancement of human rights, the elimination of international barriers and the promotion of global solidarity. The day’s festivities ended on Baku’s seaside boulevard, with a “fun-run”––a friendly race in which participants took part for their own enjoyment rather than for the sake of competition.
Due to its vast reach and unparalleled popularity, sport is ideally positioned to contribute towards the United Nations’ objectives for development and peace. To raise awareness of this potential, the Sixth of April was declared as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP) by the UN General Assembly in 2013.