“Sport is an extraordinary tool”: Laurent Dupont, Director-General of Peace and Sport

On April 6, the #WhiteCard campaign created by Peace and Sport will return to promote the positive and constructive values ​​of the sport. On this occasion, Laurent Dupont, WHO’s Director General, answered our questions.

Founded in 2007, Peace and Sport uses the organized practice of sport as a tool to build lasting peace. The organization educates the younger generations about positive values ​​and promotes social transformation and dialogue between societies.

To raise awareness of the potential of sport to effect positive social change, in 2014 this organization launched the #WhiteCard campaign and platform. www.april6.org. Every year, to celebrate the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, this digital campaign reaches millions of people around the world via social networks.

What is peace and sport?

It is an international organization, based in Monaco, established in 2007 by Joel Pozo (Olympic medalist and world champion in the modern pentathlon). It is under the high patronage of His Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco. Peace and sport aim to use sport to promote and defend the values ​​of peace. With this in mind, we use sport in contexts of social instability and in different parts of the world, with the sole aim of providing a tangible solution to the problems we face on the ground.

How can sport be a carrier of peace?

Sport is global. It is practiced everywhere in the world with the same rule without the need to translate it. Since it is a language that everyone speaks, it is a great tool for achieving the goals of peace. In addition, one does not need highly developed structures to exercise in various places. Based on these assumptions, we, in partnership with MyCoach, have transformed the Peace and Sport methodology into a mobile application, Peace and Sport x MyCoach. The mobile application is an all-in-one tool for peace educators who want to use sport to convey values.

We do not intend to overtake the planet with programsLaurent Dupont, Director General of Peace and Sport

A documentary about the story of refugee Ali Nasser Hussein, who is now part of the Peace and Sports Educators, available on +. Can you tell us about this trip?

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At the height of the Syrian refugee crisis, in 2014-2015, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees contacted us. We held meetings in Geneva to determine how we can use sport for the benefit of refugees in the camps. In 2015-2016, we went to the Zaatari camp in Jordan, which is located 10 kilometers from Syria. Among the refugees was Ali, 21, whose dreams were shattered by the war. Ali was forced to leave his country because he claimed a bright future, as he had to become an engineer. While we were already active in the camp and working with sports federations (kickboxing, techball), Ali was seen during a symposium organized to identify refugees who would like to become teachers for our peace program. He quickly distinguished himself from others with his energy, motivation, zeal for life and self-denial. He is someone who wants to do everything to survive. So Ali learned English and became a tutor for young children on the “Living Together” program.

Isn’t Ali the only one on this planet?

There is another Ali in the world. The situation of millions of refugees is critical. On average, a person who enters a refugee camp stays there for 17 years. Despite the hardships, Ali was, for two years, a kickboxing teacher who does an exceptional and wonderful job in the camp with the kids. He uses the sport to teach values ​​to young people and even coaches a young woman who, in turn, becomes a teacher. Doing sports is not mixed in the Syrian culture, so it was very important to train a teacher who could implement these programs. Thanks to his investment, Ali became the leader of his community inside the camp. He is well respected and his role goes much further than that.

How do you set up your software?

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We do not intend to overtake the planet with programs. Our goals are clear and our methodology responds to issues on the ground. We want to work in multiple countries and make sure our programs are sustainable. We work closely with states and governments in every country we go to, but also with international sports federations, National Olympic Committees, brands, foundations, and high-profile athletes who are role models for youth and society at large. .

What are the other peace and sport projects?

Peace and Sport runs programs in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, France, and the United States. In addition to the projects that we implement in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, we are working in the Great Lakes region of Africa and in sub-Saharan Africa.

Is the Covid-19 pandemic keeping you from continuing your actions?

Since the start of the pandemic, we made a quick decision. We have accelerated the digitization of our methodology with MyCoach, enabling us to create an e-learning platform to train people remotely. Covid is preventing us from going there at the moment and the pandemic has had a major impact on the local level. We continue to train our teachers and encourage them to become “role models”. Ali continues to distribute masks, to raise awareness of barrier gestures, to give an alcoholic water gel. He has even gone further in his role as a community leader since he joined the awareness campaign against violence against women led by UNHCR.

Podcast Arena episode about Ali’s story

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