DOHA: HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani patronized the opening of the first edition of the Doha GOALS Forum at Aspire Academy on Tuesday morning.
The opening was attended by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser.
It was also attended by the Personal Representative of HH the Emir Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani.
President of the Republic of Gabon Ali Bongo Ondimba, Former President of the French Republic Nicolas Sarkozy and President of the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) Joseph Blatter also attended the opening.
A number of Their Excellencies Sheikhs and Ministers, a number Their Excellencies Heads of Diplomatic Missions accredited to the State and guests were also present at the opening.
Addressing the opening of the Forum, HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani welcomed the four hundred male and female students who came from various countries to participate in the first edition of Doha GOALS Forum, those who are brought together by their shared passion for sport, irrespective of their origins, ethnicities and religious and cultural backgrounds.
HH the Emir said "Although sport is the cause of our gathering here in Doha today, it's always important to remember that sport is not a mere activity for fun and entertainment, but a tool and a means for building communities, thanks to its ability to entrench the principles of justice, peace, unity, friendship, co-operation and co-existence, in addition to its ability to transcend cultural and ideological barriers and all forms of disparity."
HH added that in today's world, sport has become one of the prominent benchmarks and factors of progress, apart from its role in promoting understanding, cooperation and connecting peoples as well as in disseminating the culture of tolerance, renunciation of violence, hatred and racism and strengthening friendly competition spirit.
"We give all care and attention to the youth; they are our most valuable assets. With them we proceed forward confidently towards the future to make a better world; they are the charm of life," HH the Emir said.
"As you know, our Arab region stands on the verge of a quantum leap. The Arab Spring bloomed into a generation of young people who are determined to achieve their dreams and ambitions," HH the Emir made clear.
HH the Emir noted that the Doha GOALS Forum has been launched to be a foundation combining the world through sport, explaining "It's more than a mere event or forum. It's an initiative intended for coming out with tangible results. It's a forum that would provide the opportunity for decision-makers - like you - to work out a road map for positive change through sport, and launch cross-border initiatives."
The opportunity is available to you these days to look at sport from this perspective, how sport could contribute to building communities? How can we initiate together an understanding that transcends our cultural boundaries?" HH the Emir said.
"Your participation in this forum raises optimism that the important initiatives it will declare to promote the status of sport, would not just be on paper but would be translated into viable initiatives that remind us that we belong to one world. As intellectuals and decision-makers, I hope you will work out a map road to nudge sport to where it can contribute to assist in the development and innovativeness of our communities," HH the Emir added.
HH the Emir also stressed that Qatar has a firm conviction about the importance of sport in stimulating various types of development, noting "That has led us to invest in building huge structures and sport facilities, as this prestigious one where we gather today, which is known as Aspire."
"Out of our belief that hosting major sporting events aims to beyond fun and excitement because it is an important element in development drive, knowledge building and job creation, not only at the local level, but beyond that, due to its benefits at the regional level to contribute to formulating a bright future for the Middle East," HH the Emir said, adding "Accordingly, came our decision to bid to host the World Football Cup in 2022, which was received positively by the International Federation of Football Association (FIFA), not only due to their confidence in Qatar's readiness to host international events at the sport, political and economic levels, but because of their sharing with us the same belief in the significance of holding such tournament in the Middle East, due to its role in advancing the development process and achieving stability in the region."
"We in the State of Qatar believe that sport is a message of love and peace that is based on the human being, and your presence here today is the best proof that the peoples of the world share this passion," HH the Emir said.
In conclusion, HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani said "I wish you a pleasant stay in Qatar, and I am confident that the Forum would realize the maximum of its goals." (QNA)