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UNESCO and Spanish soccer club team up to ‘imagine peace’

By United Nations
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The top-level Spanish football team Málaga will sport the logo of the United Nations cultural organization as part of an “Imagining Peace” campaign that will also include Internet and social media messages aimed largely at youth, under an agreement signed today.

The four-year agreement “requires UNESCO (the UN Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization) and Málaga Football Club to mobilize their networks and communities to promote initiatives in favour of intercultural dialogue, education, the fight against doping and against racism,” UNESCO said.

“The alliance is rooted in the will to promote the values and objectives of healthy, doping free sport and to help create a society unfettered by racism and discrimination,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova at a signing ceremony in the southern Spanish city.

“We must imagine peace and make it become reality.” Club president Sheikh Abdullah al-Thani said: “Our joint purpose is to use the values of sport to educate grown-ups and the young and this is one of the main reasons for our association.

The training of young athletes must not be limited to the development of individual, or group, technical skills, it must also draw on the values inherent to sport, such as the will to excel, camaraderie and respect.”

The UN agency and Málaga, which competes in Spain's top-flight La Liga, “will share their resources so as to inspire young people with a new understanding of peace,” UNESCO said. “The Internet and social media will be used to promote

UNESCO values concerning intercultural dialogue and the importance of education.”

“The agreement also aims to contribute to the creation of an environment free of racism where girls and boys enjoy the same opportunities; to help foster a social conscience among the young using the information tools that are theirs, i.e. the Internet and its social networks; and to implement the principles that underpin UNESCO's Convention Against Doping in Sport.”

The agency added that Málaga's training centre of about 500 young players will serve as a practical laboratory for the

agreement.