Rome (Italy). On 6 April 2022, the International Day of Sports for Development and Peace is celebrated, established by the United Nations Assembly in 2013, creating a link with the first Olympic Games of the modern era, held in Athens (Greece) on 6 April 1896. The purpose of the day is to recognize and promote sport, not only as an important element for physical well-being, but above all as a factor of social cohesion, peace, tolerance, and mutual understanding, capable of breaking down religious, cultural, social, and geographic barriers.

“Ensuring a sustainable and peaceful future for all: the contribution of sport” is the theme of the 2022 Day, which aims to strengthen the commitment of the sports world to address global crises.

Today, in fact, the world faces challenges that are destined to persist and have a great impact on society: climate change, the Covid-19 pandemic, war conflicts, which generate degradation, poverty, and hunger.

With billions of spectators, promoters and participants at all levels, sport can play an important role in raising awareness globally and therefore a great influence on the progress of human rights and on social and economic development.

This is confirmed by the evident media impact of the gestures of solidarity of various athletes from opposing nations, who in the current time of conflicts between Russia and Ukraine, and in all times, have given witness to fraternity and solidarity, certifying that sport is capable of breaking down all political and social barriers.

It was precisely to the men and women of sport that Pope Francis, in the general audience of 6 April 2022, made an appeal to be active witnesses of fraternity and peace:

 “With its values, Sport can play an important role in the world, opening up paths of harmony between peoples, as long as it never loses its capacity for gratuity: sport for sport, and does not become commercial. It is that amateur nature typical of real sport”.

In this particular and difficult moment, the therapeutic potential and educational value of sport emerge with greater force, which helps athletes from Countries in conflict to rediscover the will to live and hope, thanks to sports clubs and professionals who welcome them and give wings to sports promotion and integration projects. These are stories that are echoed by the newspapers and the web or, more often than not, they remain gestures of silent “peacemakers” (cf.  Ukraine, the open arms of Italian Sport  in Juvenilia, magazine of the Salesian Youth Sports Clubs).

In her presentation at the National Convention of Salesian Youth Sports Clubs (PGS), Mother Chiara Cazzuola, Superior General of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, highlighted the important role of educators and coaches in educating for peace and correct competitiveness, “We live in a time when aggression and oppression seem to have become normal phenomena. How important it is in our educational action, to foster a positive experience of oneself together with that of one’s limitations. (…) The most beautiful and mature passage is that from individual protagonism, in which the search for personal success prevails and in which the personality of the other is crushed or diminished, to team play in which everyone’s victory is sought and one gets lost on the field, for the success of all, feeling not like a lonely ‘I’ but a ‘we’. It is a model in which the current categories that offer easy success at the expense of the good of the other and of the community are overturned.”

It is therefore more necessary than ever to try to overcome differences and unite as a single, close-knit team, which cooperates in tackling obstacles and plays together to create a safer, more peaceful and sustainable future for everyone.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.