By Nasser Al Khori, Generation Amazing Programmes Director
Doha, 1 December 2020 - The moment when a ball is passed to a young child for the first time is particularly poignant for me – you can see the happiness on the faces of young girls and boys when they are included in the game, the fun of learning through sport and the promise of creating a more hopeful future. At Generation Amazing we have been privileged to enable and accompany these learning journeys with youth over the past ten years.
In 2010, when Generation Amazing was formed as part of the country’s successful bid for Qatar 2022, we began with the vision to create a better future for under-privileged youth across the Middle East and Asia, reaching refugees and some of the most vulnerable members of these communities through the inspiring power which football can unlock. We are proud to say that by empowering youth to become leaders and change-makers, the unique human legacy of the first FIFA World Cup™ in the Middle East and Arab world is already taking shape across Qatar, the region and the world.
I have been fortunate to speak with young people from the ten countries across four continents where Generation Amazing has delivered programmes and built safe spaces to play over the past decade. In Jordan, it was inspiring to hear from Palestinian girls and boys in Al Baqa’a refugee camp, where Generation Amazing built an indoor pitch in 2014 as a safe space and community centre. Together with my colleagues we heard from these young people and their mentors about the impact created by using sport as a tool to develop vital life skills.
By encouraging girls and boys to participate in equal measure in our programmes, this facility is one of 30 pitches we have developed across the world that helps us to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Football is a fantastic tool to inspire and integrate youth. In Belgium last year, I sat with young refugees who have been involved in our team integration project with our partner club KAS Eupen. They spoke to me about how forming part of the team and coming together regularly to play football helped their integration into society, with many now contributing regularly to the club’s match-day operations and youth coaching setup. Today, Generation Amazing has already positively impacted 500,000 youth, and we are working with partners like CONCACAF and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies across the world to empower and inspire 1 million youth by 2022, helping them to change their communities for the better.
This year has been a very difficult one across the world with the global pandemic affecting lives and disrupting sporting activities and education. Since the start of the pandemic, we have made sure to continue to engage with and help youth stay active and inspired through our #GALive online sessions and webinars. We are now proud to be launching the second edition of our Generation Amazing Youth Festival despite the current global pandemic and remain committed to inspiring and empowering youth in these challenging times.
We’re delighted to invite youth on this virtual journey together with our strategic partner Qatar Foundation as we aim to unlock the transformative power of football. Over the course of the Generation Amazing Festival 2020 we aim to give youth a chance to identify their personal strengths, leadership potential and learn how to apply them for wider social and community development outcomes.
We encourage youth in Qatar and from across the region and the world to join us in celebrating the power of football to inspire positive social change. Ten years on from launching the Generation Amazing programme, and now more than ever, we believe that football can change the world. By investing in the development of youth through sport, we are playing a pass to them that we believe will enable them to change their future and their communities for the better.