Two students, four presidents and HH the Emir of Qatar took to the stage at the Aspire Dome to officially inaugurate Doha GOALS today following a formal introduction and welcome for the delegates from the executive director of Doha GOALS, H.E. Sheikh Faisal Al-Thani.
His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar, had a message of peace for all peoples of the world, and stressed how sporting initiatives could overcome borders and contribute to building societies and communities by reaching common understanding.
Welcoming the 400 invited students from 25 countries in attendance at event, he said that it was important to remember that sports were more than just games or fun, but also a tool that strengthened values and promoted peace and justice to help people live together, and to overcome obstacles and differences.
“Youth are our wealth and together we can build a better future,” he stressed. “The Arab region is about to change profoundly, and the Arab Spring has proved our youth have dreams and ambitions too.”
H.H. The Emir spoke of the huge investment in sports facilities in Qatar, based on the conviction that sport had the ability to promote development in the country and the fact that the hosting of international events not only provided entertainment but also played a role in providing jobs, both locally and internationally.
He also stressed that the decision by FIFA to award Qatar the 2022 Football World Cup championship was in part determined by a joint commitment to boost stability and development in the whole Middle East region.
Addressing the students, politicians, sportsmen and sportswomen, representatives from sporting federations and organisational bodies, NGO participants and VIPs guests, H.H. Sheikh Hamad underlined the objectives of Doha GOALS: “It is a tool to gather people around sport and an initiative which aims to bring about concrete decisions,” he said.
“Doha GOALS is both a forum and an opportunity to decide on a road map for positive change through sport and I am optimistic that the initiatives announced will not just be ink on paper but achieveable.”