Olympic Committee of Israel (OCI) chief executive Gili Lustig has met with Wilfried Lemke, the United Nations secretary general’s special adviser on sport for development and peace (UNOSPDP), to promote sport as a catalyst for peace-building and reconciliation.
The pair were also joined at a meeting by Ghazi Nujeidat, international relations coordinator at Israel's Ministry of Culture and Sports, where ideas were shared on how sport can act as a bridge between people, in addition to how it can assist and improve relations between Palestine and Israel.
Lustig informed Lemke about “The Olympism Project”, established by the OCI, in cooperation with Olympic Solidarity, with the initiative aimed at promoting Olympic values among schoolchildren.
Around 1,000 students per year are claimed to take part in the project, which strives to build a better world through sport and physical education.
Lemke also visited the Peres Centre for Peace, established in 1996 by the country’s former President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shimon Peres.
The facility has been attempting to foster tolerance and cooperation between Jewish and Arab communities in Israel and the Middle East through a wide variety of activities and programmes which are aimed at changing attitudes.
Among the programmes there are several sport activities aiming to promote peace including staging a Peace Camp in 2009, which aimed to promote friendship, understanding and respect among a variety of different backgrounds through basketball.
Following his visit to Israel, Lemke travelled to Palestine to inaugurate the extension building of the Dar-Al Kalima Indoor Sports Hall.
The hall is one of the largest indoor sports venues in the county and offers facilities for football, gymnastics, volleyball, tennis and handball, with each being accessible to those with disabilities.
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