The Peace Team in the Football for Hope Festival
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Between 28 June - 10 July, the "Peace Team", composed of 6 boys and girls and four staff members from Israel and the Palestinian Authorities, attended the FIFA "Football for Hope Festival" in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

After the team was formed, a series of preparation meetings were held over the past five months by Mifalot Education and the Peres Center for Peace.

The Football for Hope Festival in Rio de Janeiro was divided into three parts:

  1. The Young Leaders Forum which Keren Lavi from Israel and Ahmad Rome from the Palestinian Authorities attended, from 6 June- 1 July
  2. Educational and cultural activities for the 32 delegations. The programme included introductions with other delegations of the 'Youth Forum', sports competitions, the Football as an Educational Tool programme and cultural events representing the different delegations
  3. The Fair Play tournament, which Kicked off in the presence of FIFA president Sepp Blatter, the talented player Ronaldo and Brazil's sports minister

It is important to mention what is special - even unique- about the Youth football tournament, which was the Fair Play method that was applied in the games, built upon three parts:

  1. Pre-conversation between competitors, during which players set the rules that will lead to fair play
  2. The game is played without a referee, but with a mediator who makes sure that the participants are playing by the rules agreed upon
  3. Post-game discussion, where the teams give out "fair play" points to each other, so that the final results reflect those points as well as the actual score

Members of the Peace Team who were participants in the above activities included: Omer Dadon (17) from Holon, Abdullah Hrawis (16) from the village of Beta, Zoe Shield (15) from Srigim village, Ahlam Khatib (16) from Na'ima (a village outside Jericho), Meital Zikri (16) Holon and Muhammad (16) from Daheishe (a refugee camp, near Bethlehem).

The delegation's message for peace was significant at this time, since there was an escalation in the security system back home. Presenting peace-inspired programmes in difficult times is not easy, so we considered it a big achievement for both organisations.

We especially thank the festival organisers, FIFA and Street Football World’s staff, for the opportunity to represent new roads to peace at such an important event. We also thank them for organising an outstanding "Football For Hope" festival in Caju.

As said by Wilfrid Lemke, UN representative, who visited the event, "This festival is not about winning the game, but winning new friends".

[This article was edited by The Operating Team]



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