Today we celebrate International Day of Peace

21 September 2022

Today we celebrate International Day of Peace

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The UN General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, by observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire.

But achieving true peace entails much more than laying down arms.  It requires the building of societies where all members feel that they can flourish. It involves creating a world in which people are treated equally, regardless of their race.

2022 Theme: End racism. Build peace.

“Racism continues to poison institutions, social structures, and everyday life in every society. It continues to be a driver of persistent inequality. And it continues to deny people their fundamental human rights. It destabilizes societies, undermines democracies, erodes the legitimacy of governments,(…) the linkages between racism and gender inequality are unmistakable.”

António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General

As conflicts continue to erupt across the globe, causing people to flee, we have seen race-based discrimination at borders. As COVID-19 keeps attacking our communities, we have seen how certain racial groups have been hit much harder than others. As economies suffer, we have seen hate speech and violence directed at racial minorities.

We can work to dismantle the structures that entrench racism in our midst. We can support movements for equality and human rights everywhere. We can speak out against hate speech – both offline and online. We can promote anti-racism through education and reparatory justice. We all have a role to play in fostering peace. And tackling racism is a crucial way to contribute.

The Peace Bell was donated by the United Nations Association of Japan in 1954. It has become tradition to ring the bell twice a year: on the first day of spring, at the Vernal Equinox, and on 21 September to celebrate the International Day for Peace. UN Photo/Manuel Elías

The 2022 theme for the International Day of Peace is “End racism. Build peace.” We invite you to join the efforts of the United Nations as they work towards a world free of racism and racial discrimination. A world where compassion and empathy overcome suspicion and hatred. A world that we can truly be proud of.

EFDN has launched several projects and organized programs related to racism and the constant quest for peace. These projects and programs are meant to bring participants from various backgrounds together in community activities in order to explore new cultures and respect each other.


EFDN started a new project called ‘All-in & Win’ to increase knowledge & awareness to recognize discrimination in grassroots sports towards members of the LGBT+ community. Together with two academic institutions, the John Blankenstein Foundation and multiple hockey & football national associations, we aim for the acceptance of LGBT+ and to create a safe & inclusive sport climate for people who identify themselves within the LGBT+ label. 

Participation in sports is a human right and everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy its physical, social and mental health benefits regardless of their sex, sexual orientation or gender identity. Unfortunately, too many athletes experience discriminatory behavior and intolerance in sport. As a consequence, too many people are not willing to come out because they are afraid of the responses in their sport environment.   

With the project we hope to educate board members, coaches and referees, create offline and online educational programs and professionalise the Inclusion & Wellbeing Management of sport federations and organisations.  


Welcome Through Football is an EFDN initiative. Current projects across Europe receive funding from the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union and the UEFA Foundation for Children.

The Welcome Through Football 2021 project aims to assist in the integration and inclusion of recently arrived young refugees, asylum seekers and young people with a migrant background. EFDN and partners will develop and test a European methodology that uses football as a tool to reach refugees and migrants from different ages (7-25 years old) to get them physically and social active in European communities.

Moreover, the project assists football coaches and youth workers in the development and sharing of effective methods in reaching out to the marginalised target group, in preventing racism and intolerance.

Welcome Through Football project consists of the following 3 step process:

  1. Socialisation to sports – providing different football offerings for young refugees of both genders related to their specific requirements such as language skills or the possibility of trauma.
  2. Socialisation in sports – working on team structure, giving more responsibility to the participants and offering additional steps out with the sports training sessions.
  3. Socialisation through sports – Focusing on the skills the participants learn from taking part in the available offers so that they qualify for further education in and outside of sports.

#Football for Peace

Since its foundation, EFDN, also through the #Morethanfootball Action Weeks, has been using the social power of football to positively change the lives of people in European society. In April 2022, EFDN launched the #Footballfor Peace initiative also linked to the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace and to help the refugees of the conflict in Ukraine.

Ukrainian football club Shakhtar Donetsk, a member of EFDN, participates in setting and running an emergency ‘Shelter Centre’ in Lviv Stadium in Lviv, Ukraine. EFDN sent out an urgent appeal to football clubs, leagues, and associations across Europe to support an emergency ‘Shelter Centre’ in Lviv Stadium in Lviv, Ukraine. The Shelter Centre seeks to support and accommodate many of these people as they try to escape the horrors sweeping their country. Luckily, many European football organisations, members, and non-EFDN members responded in a marvelous way, bringing over all kinds of donations to help the people in the refugee center.


In 2018, the EU was home to 22.3 million third-country nationals accounting for 4.4% of the total population. Factors such as cultural differences, language barriers and social stigma can make it particularly challenging for these young people to integrate into their new societies. The increase in migratory flows has reinforced the need to promote active participation of third-country national youth in all aspects of community and societal life. At the same time, members of host communities in Europe need a deeper understanding of the diversity that exists across the continent.

To address these challenges, The UEFA Foundation for Children, with the coordination of streetfootballworld and the support of The European Football for Development Network, have teamed up to launch ‘Football for UNITY’, a project co-funded by the European Union. Football for UNITY will utilise the international platform of the UEFA EURO 2020 to promote a positive image of migration and help create strong incentives that will lead to a more constructive discourse on migration within European host communities.

During the 20-month project period, ‘Football for UNITY’ the local stakeholders within the “Football for UNITY” project were in charge if planning, organising and implementing seven awareness-raising festivals in parallel to the UEFA EURO 2020. These events took place in seven host cities of the tournament with a great focus on the topic of the social inclusion of third-country nationals.

The main goal of the project is to bring together third-country nationals and young people from host communities in Europe to participate in a series of forums and football for inclusion tournaments that will demonstrate football’s unique position to promote equality and social inclusion as European values.


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