Jeddah (UNA-OIC) – The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, whose games ended last Sunday, represented an opportunity to celebrate cultural diversity and promote tolerance and coexistence between cultures and peoples.
The tournament reflected Qatar’s keenness to use this global event to unite global efforts to face common challenges.
Ahead of the tournament, the Amir of the State of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, confirmed during his speech at the General Assembly of the United Nations (September 20, 2022) that the World Cup 2022 would strengthen understanding among people and cultures.
“In this tournament, which will be held for the first time in an Arab Muslim country, and for the first time in the Middle East in general, the world will see that one of the small and medium-size countries is able to host global events with exceptional success, in addition to its ability to provide a spacious ambience for diversity and constructive interaction between peoples,” Qatar’s Amir said.
He added, “No matter how diverse our nationalities, religions and ideas are, but our duty is to overcome obstacles, extend a hand of friendship, build bridges of understanding and celebrate our common humanity.”
This approach to extend the tournament beyond the narrow competitive space into the spacious horizons of human ideals and values has manifested since the opening ceremony that was held at Al Bayt Stadium (November 20, 2022), where verses from the Holy Qur’an calling for acceptance of difference and diversity among human beings were recited.
It also manifested in the speech of the Amir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani during the opening ceremony, in which he said: “How beautiful it is for people to put aside what divides them in order to celebrate their diversity and what brings them together at the same time.”
The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) confirmed this human horizon based on bringing together different peoples and cultures, which distinguished the World Cup in Qatar from all previous versions.
“Football reinforced its unique cohesive power by uniting the world in a spirit of peace and friendship,” FIFA said.
Qatar achieved this by employing sports diplomacy in all directions to strengthen relations between countries and promote understanding between peoples while at the same time introducing Islam’s principles and noble values and informing World Cup fans and followers around the world of authentic Arab culture.
As indicated by much of the world’s media, Qatar has sent a powerful message to the world through the World Cup: a nation can keep its cultural and religious values while remaining modern.
The tolerance message in the World Cup comes within the framework of Qatar’s regional and international efforts to consolidate the principles of tolerance and spread a culture of coexistence, which would create a healthy and appropriate environment to enable peace in societies.
In this regard, Doha hosts the Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies, which aims to disseminate best practices in conflict management and humanitarian action in a way that helps decision and policymakers take appropriate decisions to deal with conflicts in their countries.
Qatar also hosts the Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue, which promotes dialogue between different religions and cultures, especially after the world has turned into a small village and the fate of its inhabitants has become intertwined and interdependent.
The State of Qatar played a significant role in promoting the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations initiative since its early days and supported it by all possible means in achieving its goals.
It established the “Qatar Committee for the Alliance of Civilizations” to encourage peaceful coexistence and acceptance of the other, regardless of their religion and cultural and civilizational backgrounds.
Since 2010, Qatar has hosted the United Nations Fellowship Program for the Alliance of Civilizations, which comes within the framework of deepening mutual understanding of young people in the Islamic and Western worlds and increasing their awareness of cultural, political, religious and social differences as well as the role young people can play to reduce extremism and intolerance on both sides.
Because promoting coexistence and establishing peace is also linked to supporting sustainable development efforts, Qatar has ensured that these efforts are at the heart of the activities and initiatives launched during the World Cup.
In this context, Qatar launched on November 21 the unprecedented campaign “Scoring For The Goals”, which calls for solidarity to achieve the goals of sustainable development on the sidelines of the World Cup 2022, which is considered the most sustainable edition in the history of the international event.
During the same period and in conjunction with hosting the World Cup, Qatar supported the resolution “Sport as an enabler for sustainable development” adopted by the UN General Assembly in early December.
The resolution recognizes the role of sport in promoting tolerance and respect and its contribution to the empowerment of women, youth, individuals and communities and achieving the desired goals in physical and mental health and social integration.
As a result of these outstanding contributions to the World Cup in facing common challenges and promoting understanding, Qatar has won wide international praise for hosting and organizing the tournament.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino described the tournament as the best FIFA World Cup ever.
In a statement posted Tuesday on FIFA’s website, Infantino said: “What you have done and what they have done to welcome the world to this country – this beautiful country – has been unbelievable, and everyone felt at home.”
The FIFA President said that the tournament had brought the world together for the first time in the history of the modern World Cup.