Under the theme "All In", the Generation Amazing Festival 2021 has successfully completed its third edition. The Festival took place between December 14 and 18 at Qatar Foundation's Oxygen Park. Delivered in strategic partnership with Qatar Foundation, the Festival celebrated Arab solidarity with many interactive activities; in the presence of over 200 local and international youth.
The Festival was attended by a diverse group of young leaders that represented participating nations in the FIFA Arab Cup 2021TM. Over four days, the participants developed their understanding of inclusion, youth leadership, gender equality, refugees and sports, mental health and sports, financial literacy, digital storytelling, and about the social impact of football and how it can be used as a tool to transform their communities.
The Festival also saw regional attendance from the participants of the 'One Goal Arabia' programme launched recently by Generation Amazing and Qatar Football Association in partnership with Aurora for Training and Development.
The participants at the Festival had an action-packed All-In tournament session with FIFA legends who attended the Festival. The young leaders enjoyed the inspiring and touching stories of well-known stars, including Mohammed Saadon Al Kuwari, Sara Essam, Lothar Matthäus, Ali Al-Habsi, Cafu, Marcel Desailly, Luis Hernandez, and Javier Mascherano. In addition, David Beckham attended the closing ceremony where he handed out awards to the tournament winners. These included Rital Shoubaki from Jordan, Qatar’s Mohammad Al-Qassabi as overall winners of the All-In tournament. Bangladeshi Jasin Aziz Porshia and Syria’s Hafith Al Mohammad were awarded the fair play awards.
The third edition of the Festival aimed to enhance the capabilities of the participants and enable them to harness the power of football as a tool for development and peace. Sharing her comments during the Festival’s closing ceremony, Her Excellency, Lolwah Rashid Al-Khater, Assistant Foreign Minister and Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said:
"It's a pleasure and honour to stand today in front of future leaders. It is also a great honour for us that our brothers and sisters from the Arab world share this joy with us during the Arab Cup.”
Her Excellency added:
"Words cannot express our appreciation towards Generation Amazing and the work done by them under the leadership of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy. I personally witnessed their tremendous efforts during the Afghan crisis. Since August, the State of Qatar has facilitated the evacuation of more than 70,000 people from Afghanistan to their final destination. I saw people succeed on Generation Amazing's programme, which varied from lessons to children to sports activities for adults, creating in this temporary environment a safe space and solid bonds that are not broken by distance and time. The programme continues to support our refugee brothers and sisters, and the Festival was attended by a number of them."
Commenting on the achievements of Generation Amazing, H.E. Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy said:
“We created Generation Amazing in 2009 as our human and social legacy programme because of our fundamental belief in the power of football to bring about positive social change. We are proud to continue the work of Generation Amazing as a foundation beyond 2022, to continue inspiring and engaging youth from across the world as a lasting legacy of this tournament.
“We are now at a critical juncture in the future direction of sports diplomacy. The new partnerships that we form and our current relationships will help improve dialogue and understanding in the region, and around the globe. Our fundamental aim is to build lasting, impactful relationships between people, societies and countries, that lead to better lives for millions worldwide.”
Inspiring the participants at the Festival, David Beckham said:
“I am speaking to each and every one of you when I say this to you today: your time is now. Take this moment and everything you have learned and experienced this week and go back and create something special for your communities”.
Ibtihaj Muhammad, Muslim American Olympic champion, who was part of a panel hosted by Doha Debates at the Festival, attended the closing ceremony as well. She added
"I'm honoured to be sharing this day with you all, and I want to thank Generation Amazing for inviting me to speak here today.”
She further added:
“I value the commitment by the country of Qatar to encourage youth to get involved in sports, no matter the gender — using sport as a tool to develop and inspire young people, helping them to change both themselves and their communities for the better.”
Being a testimony of Generation Amazing’s core value of inclusion, the Festival had youth advocates and participants from Football Federations represented through the under 17 football players. These countries included Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, South Sudan, Palestine, Syria, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon. All participating nations of the FIFA Arab Cup 2021TM and an inspiring display of Arab unity.
The Generation Amazing Festival 2021 was supported by partners including Qatar Football Association, Qatar Airways, QLM, Qatar Museums, Doha Film Institute, FIFA Foundation, and beIN as a media partner, which further strengthens the efforts of being made. This year's Festival saw sessions delivered by Spark Lab, Education Above All, WISH, THIMUN, PS4L, WISE, IFRC, UNHCR, Concacaf, VISA, Right to Play Pakistan, Street Football World, Coaches across Continents, Sherborne School, Aurora, Brain Education ME, Generations for Peace, WISH, Save the Dream, Doha Debates, UCFB, KAS Eupen, FC Zenit, Sports 4 Life.
Cover image credit and source: Generation Amazing Press Release
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