Al-Thawadi: We're using World Cup to protect education for all
The secretary-general of the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy spoke at an online event as part of the first International Day to Protect Education from Attack.
Hassan Al-Thawadi, the secretary-general of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the body responsible for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and the initiatives connected to the country’s hosting of the tournament, has declared that the influence of football can help protect and promote education for all.
International Day to Protect Education from Attack
Al-Thawadi was speaking at an online event held to mark the first ever International Day to Protect Education from Attack on Wednesday. A number of distinguished figures were involved, led by Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, head of the Education Above All Foundation and a member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Advocacy Group, who gave the keynote speech.
Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al-Thani, Qatar’s deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, also participated in the virtual event, along with UN Secretary-General António Guterres; Tijani Muhammad Pandey, president of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly; and English football legend David Beckham, who is a UNICEF goodwill ambassador and the founder of the -7- child-protection initiative, which is run in collaboration with UNICEF.
In her address, Sheikha Moza bint Nasser said: “We do not want this day to be simply a ceremonial day on the United Nations calendar. Protection of children must be reflected and embodied by action on the ground […]. Protecting the lives, education and future of those children is a responsibility that the international community cannot ignore; a test that it cannot fail. For in these tines, our humanity is tested. Let us unite to protect education.”
Protecting education "an important tenet of Qatar's international commitments"
During a discussion on promoting effective political options and public action during the pandemic, Al-Thawadi said: “Protecting education from attack is an important tenet of Qatar's international commitments. Our country is steadfast in wanting to resolve conflict through dialogue and negotiation. And sport - football in particular - can play an important role in contributing to that protection.”
Al-Thawadi also took the opportunity to highlight some of the beneficiaries of the Generation Amazing programme, which is a sport-for-development initiative organised by the Supreme Committee that seeks to harness the power of football to help youngsters in Qatar and around the world by teaching them new and important life skills.
“Sport teaches us so much," he said. "It allows self-expression, develops character and fosters a freedom of spirit. We're using the World Cup in 2022, and the power of football, to protect and encourage education for all."
Al-Thawadi concluded by telling the inspiring story of one of the beneficiaries of Generation Amazing, Mahira Ahmad Miyanji of Karachi, Pakistan. With the help of the initiative, she was able to found the NGO Woman is a Nation, which she established to promote education and equal rights for girls in Pakistan. The legacy of the 2022 World Cup will endure long after the tournament is over, and will be embodied by inspiring stories like Mahira’s and those of others who, supported by the power of football, will continue the struggle for education for all.
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