As part of the World Virtual Youth Festival, Mr. Marius Vizer, the IJF President, participated on Saturday 21st November, in the ‘OLYMPIC TRUTH: SPORT TOWARDS PEACE-PROMOTION’ round table.
During the discussions he presented the Judo for Peace programme, “The IJF Judo for Peace programme was created in 2007 with the goal of promoting peace and mutual respect throughout the world. The Judo for Peace philosophy is based on the values of the judo moral code and on the motto ‘mutual aid and welfare.’
It is our strong belief that beyond performance, sport is a strong tool for building better societies and for conflict resolution. As a martial art and Olympic sport, judo leads the way in terms of education and support for social development and through a specific conflict-resolution approach, trauma and social issues are addressed to help people to live together.
Judo for Peace is active in conflict areas, post-conflict zones and places with social disorders and we have projects running in refugee camps as well as other conflict areas. To name a few programme in which the IJF is involved: Turkey (Kilis refugee camp), Zambia (Meheba refugee settlement), Malawi (Dzaleka refugee camp), South Africa (Judo for Peace South Africa), the Great Lake Region of Africa (Burundi, Rwanda, Eastern Congo), Jordan (Za’atari refugee camp), Ethiopia (Refugee programme), Argentina (Terra del Fuego), Canada (Inuit communities), Mongolia (isolated communities), Brazil (Favelas), Afghanistan (in cooperation with Norwegian Olympic Committee).
During all these activities a specific ‘Judo for Peace’ strategy is implemented as part of the global development plan for national federations. The refugee activities focus on the young generations fostering self-confidence, trauma identification and integration within local communities. Judo for Peace actively collaborates with other IJF educational initiatives, such as Judo for Children, Judo in Schools or Gender Equity and judo champions are actively involved in the field.
For many years the IJF has been collaborating with international organisations (Peace and Sport, Crans Montana Forum, Norwegian Olympic Committee and Norwegian development agency) to reinforce the Judo for Peace activities and a close cooperation with UNHCR has been developed to create better conditions for people in need.
Judo for Peace focuses on everyone, without any kind of discrimination and also helps mentally and physically challenged children to be integrated. The main focus is and remains on education and values that are essential to build a better society."
IJF President also delivered an important message to the youth, “My message for the youth connected to the World Virtual Festival, which is valid for all youth of the world, is very simple: sport will keep you healthy, in your body and mind as well. It will prove to be an irreplaceable tool for you to be a better citizen and to make a difference in the society in which you live.
We are all currently going through a difficult period; the world is torn by conflicts and issues which are dividing entire nations. Young athletes are used to hard-work and discipline. For example, judo is a sport that teaches you respect, resilience, friendship, mutual aid. These are qualities that give you a good moral standing and a strong foundation for your future life.
In judo, as in all combat sports, you have an opponent, but through judo, your opponent also becomes your friend, a person you respect, you cherish and you cooperate with. This is the power of judo, the power of sport: to transfer into everyday life the invaluable teachings and means to be a model citizen, well integrated in society and well connected with the world we live in.”