Sports for Peace - Brief Description


The following modified concept of “Sports for Peace” is an alternative approach for conflict transformation and peace building since it integrates the culture of peace, core values and children’s rights into the concept. The modified concept has been field tested in Mindanao, Philippines, a region where continuous political, ethnic and religious strife have hindered its development. Sports for Peace was modified in order to create space for peaceful interaction while teaching the students life skills such as decision making and problem solving as well as the values of cooperation, respect for others and fair play. These are all critical in human, social and economic development and peace building.


As early as the 1920ies, sports has played a vital role in development cooperation and peace building programmes. Although used only in an ad hoc way, it was a means to reach development-related objectives.

In 1995, UNICEF implemented the Sports for Development Program which recognized sports as a fun way in learning values and lessons that would last a lifetime. Through the program, adolescents developed analytical and decision-making skills while providing them with a sense of hope, normalcy and security in times of conflict, post-conflict and emergencies. It is a universal language that can help bridge divides and promote the core values necessary for lasting peace. On sport grounds, there is no difference between children. They all learn how to win and to lose honorably (Sport, Recreation and Play by UNICEF).

During the International Year of Sport and Physical Education in 2005, the international development community recognized sports as a strong unifying factor in the process of conflict transformation and peace building. The fundamental values of sports and play are very important elements in the building of a strong civil society and states where tolerance and friendship are being built. Furthermore, sport has been granted the potential as a conflict-prevention measure, helping forestall processes that generate aggression, hatred and fear.