Harness the magic of soccer,
TWIG - UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has urged people around the world to harness the magic of soccer for the greater good, saying the World Cup being hosted by Germany has the potential to bring people and nations together.
"Over the next few weeks, as billions of people worldwide focus on the World Cup," said Annan, "let us harness the magic of football to our quest for development and peace."
"Football is a global language," Annan wrote in the joint message with Sepp Blatter, the Swiss president of world soccer’s governing body FIFA, whose 205 members outnumber the United Nations’ 191.
"It can bridge social, cultural and religious divides. It enhances personal development and growth, teaches us teamwork and fair play, builds self-esteem and opens doors to new opportunities," he added.
"This, in turn, can contribute to the well-being of whole communities and countries."
The statement also pointed to efforts made by FIFA to use soccer "to heal the emotional wounds of war among young people in refugee camps, and in countries recovering from armed conflict."
Indeed, the tournament has special meaning for countries recovering from the turmoil of war, Annan wrote in a separate message published as a guest editorial in the weekly Bild am Sonntag.
"For a country like Angola, which knew years of misery, the
World Cup will bring a sense of renewal." Annan wrote. "And for a nation
like Ivory Coast, which has been torn apart by conflict, it is a symbol of
national unity and the hope for a new start."
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