UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon took Earth Day 2012 to heart and foot yesterday as he kicked off what has become an annual soccer match for a very good cause. Ambasssador Christian Wenaweser, Permanent Mission of Liechtenstein to the United Nations, and the Director for UNDP’s Regional Bureau for the Latin American and the Caribbean ASG, Heraldo Munoz, orchestrated the second diplo soccer match to support Play31.
Two teams comprised of UN Ambassadors and high-ranking UN officials faced off for the match donning jerseys emblazoned with the words “Change the World Through Sport.”
Play31 is an organization that utilizes the unifying power of football to bring together people who have been torn apart by armed conflict. Its vision is a world where all children can exercise their right to play, as stipulated in Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and to “translate peace on the pitch to peace off the pitch” (www.play31.org). Proceeds from this year’s match will help to raise money to finance one of Play31’s community tournaments in Sierra Leone.
Says the Secretary General regarding sport in helping heal the wounds of children in armed conflict: “Sports, particularly soccer, can play a bridging role among even enemies, and it can play a healing power [in] conflicts. We have seen many such cases that soccer and sports in general have created a very important atmosphere, politically – conducive to the creation of reconciliation.”
As the ultimate diplomat, the Secretary-General played a raucous game and switched sides at half-time, enabling the losing side to score two more goals. Even though the opposing side, which included Ambassador Christian Wenaweser was still victorious, everyone came out a winner -- including fans and spectators who included Ambassador Mo and me from the sidelines.
By, Susan Sacirbey
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See yesterday’s Blog for video: “Mixed Messages? Earth Day 2012 diplomaticallyincorrect.org/blog_post/mixed-messages-earth-day-2012/50920
which includes a special message from the Secretary General for Earth Day 2012 calling for “action against human disregard for nature’s life supporting resources and ecosystems.”
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