Getting Onside for World Peace day
Over 250 local school students and sports coaches from around the globe converged on the University of Brighton in a festival of football to celebrate the International Day of Peace on Wednesday 21 September.
The annual Football 4 Peace (F4P) international training camp brought together pupils from 14 local schools with delegates from Ghana, South Africa, South Korea, Democratic Republic of Conga, Iran, Sudan, Czech Republic and Northern Ireland at the university’s Falmer Campus.
Principal Lecturer and co-founder of F4P, Dr Gary Stidder said: “The primary task of the F4P training event is to provide an opportunity for teachers and coaches from socially divided communities such as in Israel, Northern Ireland, South Korea and South Africa to learn how to use the F4P methodology and curriculum and implement this within their own communities.
“To date the Northern Irish Football Association has integrated this into their strategic development plan whilst there are plans to use it as the basis of the very first National Curriculum for PE in South Africa.”
The core themes associated with the F4P festival are further emphasised and achieved by motivating the group through enthusiastic verbal and physical actions, physical contact such as high fives, team handshakes, team cheer, group huddles, warm-up type activities, buddy systems, goal celebrations, team talks, and learning someone else’s physical greeting. The principles of the project based upon a set of common values:
- Equity and Inclusion – Those who want to play can play regardless of ethnicity, race, religion, gender, and ability.
- Respect – Within F4P all participants are treated equally and the commitment to equality is recognised in the way that practices and games are organised and run.
- Trust – The appreciation of one’s own individuality and the value of others in a context of social diversity. Respect, for oneself, respect for team mates and opponents, respect for coaches and parents, and respect for the laws of the game and those that administer them.
- Responsibility – Working with and for others, requiring mutual aid and self-sacrifice.
- Competition – Your opponent is as important to you as your team mate. Without him or her, the game cannot take place.
World Peace Day — officially the International Day of Peace — is observed annually on September 21. It was established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly to coincide with its opening session, which was held annually on the third Tuesday of September. The first Peace Day was observed in September 1982.
Since 2001, academics from the University of Brighton have been working with sports and voluntary organisations around the world to help heal fractured societies and promote a fairer world. F4P emerged from a partnership between researchers at the university and the World Sports Peace Project in Israel.
The F4P Festivals are celebrations rather than tournaments or competitions. Children prepare for the festival in the morning by working in mixed teams and given the names of either countries or Champions League teams.
They take part in a series of trust games, team building exercises and problem solving activities. In the afternoon they play either small-sided football and rugby matches against other mixed teams. The festivals are different, and possibly unique to conventional football tournaments, in that they have a specific format that emphasises the core values of the F4P curriculum. Whilst competition is not de-emphasised, children are made aware of the need to play and compete in an acceptable way to ensure that each game is played fairly.
Children play an equal amount of games, referee their own games, make their own substitutions, and award their opponents fair play points at the end of each game. The team with the most fair play points at the end of the festival is awarded the Fair Play Award.