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Champions of peace get thumbs up in Dubai
By Rajesh D’silva April 25, 2013
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DUBAI: Sports stars involved in advocating peace were strongly lauded by the distinguished panel of the Peace and Sport Dubai Forum held on Wednesday.

The forum largely attended by athletes, sports bodies, NGO’s, International and National Sports Federations, Business Houses, Governments of various countries from GCC as well as Europe and Academic Institutes debated issues and solutions for the global peace process.

“The UAE has set a good example of being an ambassador of peace, with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Award being initiated and decrees issued in support of the same,” informed Dr Hamad Al Shaibni, President of Mohammed Bin Rashid Award for International Peace to the large gathering in Dubai.

“A lot of initiatives were moved in this direction with a long term plan of a noble peace award in the piping. “The UAE has a large number of people from different nationalities living in peace and harmony which is a very encouraging sign,” said Shaibni.

Defining the secret of success of peace in Dubai Shaibni highlighted the defining moment.

“The UAE had group of people who worked hard to connect the Emiratis. The expatriates in UAE too realized about the cohesion among the Emiratis. It was all due to the efforts of individuals working behind the scene and the group working hard in maintaining peace that we were able to achieve what we have today,” informed Shaibni.

Commenting on the role of people impacting peace Phil Sherwood, Former Head of Voluntering and Workforce Training, commended the role of volunteers at the London Para Olympics.

“London Volunteers at the Para Olympic never did volunteer before.

“We had 72,000 volunteers who just did it because it was bigger than sport.” “Every gold medal winner can help, people involved in volunteering form a legacy,” said Sherwood.

Reem Assad, Expert in Economics and Women’s Rights Activist in Saudi Arabia, discussed topics relating to economy and numbers which had an effect on sports.

Pakistani footballer Kashif Siddiqi earlier announced the launch of a football for peace match between the UAE and Pakistan on Sept. 21, the World Peace Day through the global Peace and Sport movement.

The match will be dedicated to Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl shot by extremists while defending the right for education of girls.

The proceeds would go towards funding the foundation in her name.

Commending his mother and describing her as his mentor the 26-year-old Pakistani footballer expressed his happiness for the help extended by UAE.

“The UAE has been very accommodating in what our vision is. The Peace and Sports has come aboard and it has given the Kashif Siddiqi Foundation a push. The UAE is a strong nation and the plan is to echo the good work around the world,” said Siddiqi.

India and Pakistan match has always been a crowd puller and Siddiqi has taken a giant step in that direction.

“We are doing the India versus Pakistan match which will be held in India soon, in Dubai we are looking into it now. The key is to work together to grow and now it’s working.”

“In Pakistan everyone is appreciating what we are doing and it’s time for a change now,” said the young footballer.

Vijay Pal Sharma, Chairman of the World Kabaddi Federation in India, lauded the UAE for staging the Peace and Sport Forum.

“This is a excellent platform in Dubai where we get to interact with sports personalities and bodies.

“Today the amount of countries participating in kabaddi has grown. We had the Kabaddi World Cup in Punjab and India bagged the top spot followed by England and Pakistan emerged third. But India and Pakistan games always feel good. On the ground we play fiercely but off field the situation is peaceful,” said Sharma who will be attending Monaco Forum at the end of this season.

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