In the context of the International Day of Sports for Peace and Development, UNESCO organized a conference with the motto “Sport for Peace, Friendship and Development” on 19 April at Tehran University. The event was organized in cooperation with the Ministry of Sports and Youth of I.R. Iran, the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO, and the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Tehran.
As Turkmenistan will be hosting the 5th Asian Indoors and Martial Arts Games in September, the President of Turkmenistan has declared 2017 as the year of “Health and Inspiration”. Within that framework, the country has organized a number of events related to sports and physical education to highlight the benefits and values of sports. The Embassy of Turkmenistan organized an exhibition about the Asia Games alongside the conference.
The conference highlighted the benefits of sports for healthy, peaceful, inclusive societies and stressed in particular the important role of traditional sports and games in transmitting values from one generation to the next. There were several live demonstrations of traditional sports from different parts of Iran and Turkmenistan, including by the Iranian national team of Zurkhaneh.
After welcoming remarks by Dr. Rajabi, Vice-President of the Iranian National UNESCO Committee on Physical Education and Sport, Ms. Kuisch-Laroche welcomed the participants on behalf of UNESCO.
“There is nothing quite like sports to bring women and men from different cultures together around the shared values of fair play, mutual respect and team spirit”, said the UNESCO Representative.
She highlighted the importance of values education through sports and said that sports had the power to provide a universal framework for learning values, and to contribute to the development of soft skills needed for responsible citizenship.
“Through competition and cooperation, learners appreciate the role of rule structures, conventions, values, performance criteria and fair play, and celebrate each other’s contributions, as well as appreciating the demands and benefits of teamwork. Additionally, the learner understands how to recognize and manage risk, to fulfill assigned tasks, and to accept responsibility for their own behavior. They learn how to cope with both success and failure, and how to evaluate performance against their own and others’ previous achievements. It is through these learning experiences that quality physical education provides exposure to clear, consistent values and reinforces pro-social behavior through participation and performance”, said Ms. Kuisch Laroche.
She went on to talk about the particular role of traditional sports and games. “Because of their deep roots in local culture, traditional sports can play a particularly important role in fostering social cohesion, and peace between different communities, and in transmitting important life values”, said the UNESCO Representative.
Dr. Nasiri, Secretary-General of the Iranian National Commission stressed the relevance of sports for social inclusion in his remarks.
H.E. Mr. Ahmet Gurbanov, Ambassador of Turkmenistan in Tehran, talked about the importance that his country attaches to sports and introduced the 2017 Asia Games. He also showed the audience a short video clip about Turkmenistan’s preparations for hosting the Games.
Other speakers included Mr. Jafari, President of the Iranian Federation of Local Games and Traditional Sports; Ms. Ghilani, President of the Iranian Polo Federation; and Dr. Ahmadi, Deputy Minister for Cultural and Educational Affairs, Ministry of Sports and Youth.
After the conference, the participants visited the sports exhibition by the embassy of Turkmenistan.
UNESCO is the United Nations’ lead agency for Physical Education and Sport and plays the secretariat role for the Intergovernmental Committee for Physical Education and Sport (CIGEPS). Since 1952, UNESCO has been working actively to promote the power and cross-cutting potential of sports and to facilitate access to physical education in both formal and non-formal settings.
To learn more about our work in Physical Education and Sport, please see: http://en.unesco.org/themes/sport-and-anti-doping