Siya Kolisi wins the Peace and Sport Champion of the Year Award
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Siya Kolisi, captain of the South African 2019 Rugby World Cup winning team, a symbol of the revival of the rainbow nation, won the Peace and Sport Award for “Champion of the Year” for his commitment to education and social cohesion.

2 November 2019, in Yokohama, Siya Kolisi brought the Springboks to their third world title and in doing so he became a national hero.

Born in the township of Zwide, north of Port Elizabeth, an area marked by unemployment and lack of opportunity, Siya was often hungry and deprived.

Now a household name in world rugby, this third-line player, revered in the world of rugby, has not forgotten his community and gets involved in everyday life to transmit the values of sport to youth.

Actively involved in his home township, he initiated his school’s development and donated sports equipment to his childhood club: the African Bombers.

At the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's birth in 2018, he was the ambassador of a programme to offer photovoltaic lamps to more than 100,000 isolated South African families without electricity.

After the Rugby World Cup, he set up a national campaign to equip 262 schools with digital tablets – 262 being a symbolic number which refers to the number of points scored by your team during the competition.  These programmes are made possible through the involvement of local sponsors who, likewise, are committed to social change.

The Champions for Peace club have voted for Siya Kolisi’s flawless investment on and off the pitch. He succeeds Blaise Matuidi and joins other revered members such as François Pienaar, another number 6 for the Springboks who was awarded the Webb Ellis Prize in 1995 by Nelson Mandela.

During an exceptional evening at the Monaco Opera House, in the presence of Prince Albert II of Monaco, Patron of Peace and Sport, and Princess Charlene of Monaco, some of the best peace-through-sport initiatives were witnessed on stage.

Joël Bouzou, President and Founder of Peace and Sport:

The Peace and Sport Awards are a unique opportunity to focus the world on sport’s initiatives for Peace. From grassroots NGOs to governments in the world of sport. We all have a role to play and we must use this wonderful tool of sport for peace. I would also like to congratulate Siya Kolisi, Champion of the Year, who, like Nelson Mandela, has shown a unique power of sport to bring people together."

The evening was also an opportunity to accolade:

The CSR Initiative of the Year: The Danone Nations Cup is the largest children’s football tournament in the world, with more than 2 million participants. The event aims to encourage children to become agents of positive change in their communities.

The April 6 Initiative of the Year: Deporte para el Desarrollo, Festival Learn, play and try – Venezuela, Rugby. In April 2019, the first “Learn, Play and Try” Festival promoted its unique methodology, which is now nationally recognised and implemented.

NGO of the Year: GOALS, Equal opportunities, Haiti, Football. This initiative focuses on quality education and rural inclusion to reduce illiteracy and increase school attendance for rural youth in Haiti.

In memory of Guo Chuan: Team Malizia

Innovative action of the year: Fundación Olímpica Guatemalteca, Records Vs Records. This inclusive initiative encourages participants to set sports records that are converted to local currency. The funds raised through the involvement of the whole society were used to open a new sports facility, where life skills are passed on to more than 500 young people from vulnerable communities to reduce delinquency and violence.

Diplomatic Action of the Year: The National Olympic Committee of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the two cities of Sarajevo and East Sarajevo for the organisation of the 14th European Youth Olympic Winter Festival (EYOF)

The Sports Organisation of the Year: Saint-Omer Cricket Club Stars (SOCCS). Founded in 2016, this club fraternises with young refugees from Afghanistan and Pakistan. The association’s mission is to use cricket as a means to overcome the high migratory tensions in the Hauts-de-France region. The Saint-Omer Cricket Club has made a significant contribution to the integration and wellbeing of refugees in the community.

Development and Peace through Sport of the Year Programme: Naandi Foundation, The Toofan Games, India. The Naandi Foundation is one of the largest social welfare organisations in India. The Toofan Games enable community educators to broaden the positive impact of sports programmes and promote gender equality.

Champion of the Year: Siya Kolisi – South African rugby team

PSpecial Jury Prize: FC Barcelona Foundation. Robot Pol is an initiative led by the FC Barcelona Foundation, in partnership with the Eric Abidal Foundation. It is part of the “Pediatric Emotional Wellness Programme” and is based on a robot using an audio, video and remote control software system. It gives sick children a chance to have an immersive experience and interact with players during workouts and games.