Sports to promote intercultural dialogue among youth in Lebanon

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© UNESCO

Fifteen young managers and trainers in youth and civil society organizations in Lebanon and Syria met Hoops Sports Club - Hazmieh to participate in a workshop on "intercultural dialogue through sports". This three-day training workshop was organized by UNESCO in collaboration with Hoops Sports Club, and facilitated and monitored by its trainers from 14 to 16 October 2015.

Through this workshop, managers and trainers from youth NGOs enhanced their essential skills in the design and implementation of youth targeting activities, aiming to promote social cohesion by using sport.

Skateboarding World Champion James Kelly also attended this workshop as a special guest to show how integrate skateboards in youth activities.

As proven in similar experiences, sport is an effective tool to promote social integration in culturally mixed communities, in particular among young people. Sports helps fight negative prejudices, and enhances the understanding and appreciation of cultural differences.

Since the outburst of the Syrian conflict, around two million Syrian refugees have fled the war and entered to Lebanon. In the midst of armed conflicts, political instabilities, worsening economic conditions, and the rise of extremism, youth find themselves increasingly marginalized with less choices, decreasing opportunities, and a limited ability to effectively exercise their civic role as a dynamic force of positive change.

Within the framework of its Social and Human Sciences programme, UNESCO Office in Beirut launched a series of activities to promote intercultural dialogue and positive interaction between youth in the countries affected by the Syrian Crisis (Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq). These activities focus on Youth inclusion, Social cohesion support, strengthen the contribution of youth in shaping peace-building in a mid-term development.