Sport has unlimited potential to be a powerful vehicle for positive development, for social change, for good. Sport can be a place for joy, friendships, learning and growth. But the positive potential of sport does not happen without all of us being accountable as stewards of sport, taking responsibility and being intentional for the outcomes and the impact of sport both on and off the playing field.
In these days of global awakenings and challenges, sport can play a pivotal role in unifying what seems to be an increasingly fractured world. Sport can welcome - we see sport organizations opening their doors to refugees. Sport can unite - we see embargoes being lifted and those once separated by political differences participating together once again. Sport can heal - we see people come back together on playing fields after explosive tragedies.
The welcoming, uniting, and healing powers of sport can converge and point us on a path to peace. In recognition of this, April 6 is designated the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, a day to acknowledge, celebrate and reflect on the power of sport around the world. Sport directly or indirectly influences all of us wherever we call home and however we consume sport and physical activity- as participants, fans, parents, administrators, media, educators and advocates.
Sport can inspire, motivate and engage us, but we need to be sure that we honor sport by caring for it, enjoying it, but also taking it seriously. We need to be mindful that good practice, good standards, good governance and good accountability in sport are essential at all levels and all aspects of the sporting environment.
Just as we take care and have concern for our lives and the lives of others, our experiences and our environments, we must also be sure to include our engagement with sport in the arenas we care about and take responsibility for. Sport is a vital component and arena that can significantly impact our lives.
How can we recognize and celebrate the role and responsibility of sport on April 6? We can commit to promoting and ensuring dignity, inclusion and respect for all. We can call for fostering positive development and human rights within and through sport. We can share stories of sport as a vehicle for social change. We can use the power of sport to welcome, to unite and to heal.