The International Canoe Federation and international change agent, Peace and Sport, have joined forces to help promote the role sport can play in making the world a better place.
ICF president, Jose Perurena, and Peace and Sport president and founder, Joël Bouzou, signed a memorandum of understanding which will see the two organisations combine their resources to spread the message that sport can be a powerful tool in building peaceful communities.
“Our mission is to build peaceful communities through the power of sport,” Mr Bouzou said.
“We are glad to partner with the International Canoe Federation and to work together for the creation of a safer, more equitable and inclusive world.
“We will join forces and involve the canoe community on concrete actions that will contribute to the achievement of sustainable development goals through sport.”
Peace and Sport works all over the world to build peaceful communities through the power of sport, which leads to a safer, more equitable and inclusive world.
The ICF is made up of 167 national federations from every corner of the globe, and covers more than 10 different canoeing disciplines, including the Olympic sports of slalom and sprint, and paracanoe on the Paralympics program.
Mr Perurena said the partnership with Peace and Sport is a good fit for the International Canoe Federation.
“Canoeing is more than a sport,” he said.
“It is a philosophy on life. Canoeing allows recreational and social activities with family and friends in all waters, like rivers, lakes and sea.
“Especially in these difficult times, we need an agreement like this with social activity returning in many territories.”
Peace and Sport have programs running in a dozen countries around the world, including Burundi, Jordan and France. Its main role is to to show, in a tangible way, the federating, educational and social impact of sport and to provide support for national and international stakeholders using sport for education, integration and socialisation.
Helping its cause are more than 100 “Champions for Peace” – international athletes who use their status as role models to promote sport as a tool for dialogue and social cohesion.
Three-time canoe slalom Olympic gold medalist and ICF vice-president, Tony Estanguet, and 2008 Olympic slalom bronze medalist, Benjamin Boukpeti of Togo, are both part of Peace and Sport’s “Champions for Peace” club.
“As a Peace and Sport “Champion for Peace”, I have been a privileged witness of the great efforts made by Peace and Sport to have a concrete impact on the field, building on the power of sport to to transmit positive values such as self-confidence and respect to future generations in order to build peaceful communities,” Estanguet said.
“Today, I’m really happy to see Peace and Sport entering the canoeing family. For both organisations, this partnership is a great opportunity to develop new programs and support new audiences, and I’m sure we will find many areas of collaboration.”
Boukpeti made history as Togo’s first Olympic medalist, and has seen first hand the impact sport can have on society.
“When I was young, sport was just for leisure, but then came the competition and a chance to express myself,” he said.
“As I progressed, I really understood how sport could bring something very important not just for myself, but also for society and bringing people together. I think athletes are very interested in the role they can play to promote a better society, but I think we need stronger leaders on this.”