Hassan Al Thawadi: Football can play an important role in protecting education
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ and the power of football can protect and encourage education for all, said H.E. Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), during his appearance in a high-level virtual event to mark 9 September as the first International Day to Protect Education from Attack.
Organised by Education Above All (EAA), with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Save Our Future and the Qatar Fund For Development (QFFD) and the Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar to the United Nations (UN), the event aimed to commemorate and promote the international day and act as a call to stop attacks on education.
The event saw the participation of high-level speakers with opening addresses from H.H. Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of EAA and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Advocate, H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and António Guterres, UN Secretary-General.
During her opening address, H.H. Sheikha Moza bint Nasser said:
“We do not want this day to be simply a ceremonial day on the United Nations calendar. Protection of education 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 afford to ignore; a test that it cannot fail. For in these times, our humanity is tested. Let us unite to protect education.”
Also in attendance were Tijjani Muhammad Bande, President of the 74th Session of the General Assembly, and England footballing legend David Beckham, who is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and founder of the 7 Fund for UNICEF.
Speaking in a panel discussion on promoting effective policy choices and public action during the pandemic, Al Thawadi said:
“Protecting education from attack is an important tenet of The State 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 highlighted some of the beneficiaries of the SC’s Generation Amazing programme, the organisation’s flagship football for development programme which uses the power of football to teach key life skills to children and youth in Qatar and globally.
“Sport teaches us so much. 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,” said Al Thawadi.
Al Thawadi ended his appearance by telling the inspirational story of Generation Amazing beneficiary, Mahira Ahmed Miyanji from Karachi, Pakistan. With dedication and through the help of Generation Amazing, Miyanji was able to continue her work with Women Is A Nation (WIN), a non-governmental organisation she founded which advocates education and equal rights for girls in Pakistan.
Al Thawadi said: “Long after the winning team has lifted the trophy at the World Cup in 2022, the legacy of the tournament will resonate in the stories of Mahira and others who continue to strive for education – aided by the special power and potential of sport.”
Launched during Qatar’s successful bid to host the FIFA World Cup 2022™, Generation Amazing seeks to aid communities with identified needs through a football-driven methodology and strategy of training. Both on the pitch and in classrooms, the programme’s mission is to activate individuals’ skills in communication, teamwork and leadership for the benefit of the wider community.
Generation Amazing has reached over 500,000 beneficiaries in Asia and the Middle East. The programme aims to positively impact one million people via unique football for development training sessions by the time the first ball is kicked at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.