On 3-5 July 2019, UNESCO Beirut, in partnership with the Syrian National Commission for UNESCO, organized a 3-day workshop at the Ministry of Education in Damascus, Syria, addressing “Anti-doping and sports”.
A group of 28 participants including representatives of schools (24 men and 4 women) from different regions gained an updated knowledge in the anti-doping- national efforts in line with UNESCO’s convention on Anti-doping and the framework of the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA).
At the opening of the workshop, speaking on behalf of UNESCO Beirut Director Dr Hamed al Hamami, UNESCO Beirut's Programme Specialist for Social and Human Sciences, Dr Seiko Sugita, said:
"Sport is a pillar of a healthy society, at ease with itself, united in its diversity, based on human rights and equal dignity. It provides a field for passions to be shared, for communities to come together, for the disadvantaged to be empowered. Especially in turbulent times, sport can be a powerful vehicle for social inclusion, gender equality, and youth empowerment, with benefits that extend far beyond the grounds of stadiums".
She added: "There is nothing like sport to bring women and men from different cultures together around the shared values of fair play, mutual respect and team spirit. Sport and physical education are especially important for young people, for their health and civic engagement. Hence the importance of the UNESCO International Charter of Physical Education and Sport, to bolster the right of access for all to physical education, physical activity, and sport. This same spirit guides UNESCO’s action in the fight against doping, through the Fund for the Elimination of Doping in Sport, and the Anti - Doping Convention, which 170 countries have signed".
Dr Sugita continued: "Every year 3,000 athletes worldwide test positive for banned substances. Doping is a serious violation as it has serious effect on the heath of athletes and it robs other athletes of their victories and their money". She concluded: "Nelson Mandela once said, “sport has the power to change the world”. We need this power more than ever today, to strengthen the grounds for more inclusive and sustainable development and lasting peace".