“Sport has the ability to unite people. It is a universal language”

BSWW president Joan Cusco was one of the speakers at UNAOC’s virtual event on the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development

Beach Soccer Worldwide president Joan Cusco has taken an active part in United Nations – Alliance of Civilizations talk today, to celebrate the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, explaining how sports can play a very significant role in uniting people and cultures. 

The talk, held live on 21 May, was atteneded by UNAOC’s High Representative Miguel Ángel Moratinos and the participation of Nihal Saad, Chief of Cabinet and Spokesperson for the High Representative for UNAOC; Afaf Lamkoutar (Morocco), Legal Representative, the Hijra Legal Clinic and UNAOC Young Peacebuilder; Yamini Ravindran (Sri Lanka), Director Legal & Advocacy, The Alliance Development Trust and 2019 recipient of the Intercultural Innovation Award; uthor and reporter Chaker Khazaal (State of Palestine / Canada); Nicole Banister, Founder & Commissioner of My Basketball Team, Partnerships Coordinator, Grassroot Soccer and UNAOC Fellow and Kuany, Prevention of Violent Extremism through Education Specialist at UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP).

Many ideas and propositions were tackled in the exposition, mainly dealing how the world needs to come together to overcome threats and menaces such as the current situation with Covid-19. In his exposition, Cusco brought on the role sport can play in bringing the world together and conveying a strong message of unity, togetherness and team spirit. 

“Sport has a unique capacity to unite people regardless origins, cultures, religions and customs. It is a universal language. Sport helps building global mentality. We all share the passion for sport, and this unites us.”

“Sport is a powerful tool to transmit messages, like we see in FIFA Fair Play, which has been in the football stadiums every year, aiming at changing the behavior. Not only on the pitch with players and within the stadium, but everywhere. Or UEFA, with #Respect… It clearly fits with what we all want to achieve. It is part of the world of sports.”, he added. 

Regarding the One Humanity campaign, the BSWW president outlined the first steps being made: “We expect sports bodies to help us and associate with the One Humanity campaign, and I have to say that every single sports organization we have talked with during these first initial period has liked the idea. The campaign has a very good reach.” 

Talking about the importance sportsmen and sportswomen have, Mr Cusco pointed out that “the athletes, with their conduct and their speech, are models for society, especially for the younger children. They have to help in spreading the message, but also they have to show it with their behavior.”

“We also need to involve people at risk of social discrimination into sport, because sport unites people. We have to bring them in, just the same as we need to grant access to sport to low-income people. We have to get them free sport, because once they come to sport, it can help them to have a better vision”, he continued. 

Mr Cusco also dealt with the issue of Covid-19, highlighting that, “the One Humanity concept is more important than ever. I wonder how much better we could have fought Covid-19 if we’d have acted more as one humanity. Im sure the impact would have been way smaller”. 

The full session is available at: https://www.facebook.com/unaoc.org/videos/1391088767742004/

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