(Vatican Radio) A news conference was held in the Holy See's press office on Tuesday to brief journalists on the first ever global conference on Faith and Sport that opens in the Vatican this week. Called ‘Sport at the Service of Humanity,’ leading figures from the world of sport, religion and culture are among those attending the 3-day conference (Oct. 5th-7th) hosted by the Pontifical Council for Culture with the support of the United Nations and the International Olympic Committee.
Pope Francis will be presiding over the conference’s opening ceremony and the guests include the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach.
In addition to discussing how faith and sport can work together, the Vatican conference aims to launch a movement to develop – through sport – life skills, character, values and enjoyment of life, inspiring people to live in accordance with six principles. These 6 principles are: compassion, respect, love, enlightenment, balance and joy. Organisers said participants will be focusing in particular on how to use the benefits of sport to empower and help the poor and disadvantaged.
Among the speakers present at the Vatican press conference was Kashif Siddiqi, a professional soccer player and co-founder of the movement, Football for Peace. Siddiqi spoke with Vatican Radio’s Hayley Susino about his mission and organization.
Kashif Siddiqi spoke about the aims of the Football for Peace movement that he helped to set up:
“It’s a movement that is working with the United Nations and platforms such as ‘Sport at the Service of Humanity’, which is standing up for and really uniting faith and cultures. I think it is a perfect opportunity for people to come together at a time like this when there is so much tension and conflict around the world,” said Siddiqi.
Siddiqi reflected on his background and how that influences his role in the faith and sport community. “I think it is important for me as a British Muslim to be here and to really be a catalyst to show that faith and sport can work together.”
He went on to describe how Football for Peace is involved in making a difference in the global community.
“Football for Peace is a platform which really shows sports diplomacy at a high level. It connects and puts some peace matches, working all the way down to grassroots and helping kids understand how they can work together.”
Siddiqi also explained how he thinks faith and sport can work together;
“I think a perfect example is my own life. Growing up in a faith household and the values that it’s taught me and the discipline and the consequence, but at the same time staying true to myself and what I am trying to do. It is something that runs throughout and if you put both together it can be very powerful.”
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