Lausanne, Switzerland: The stories featured this week on the FIH website showcase work that is being carried out by individuals, groups, national associations and continental federations to promote peace and development across the globe.
The FIH is joining with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in celebrating International Day of Sport for Development and Peace on 6 April, by telling five stories that demonstrate the depth of heart and empathy that exists within the global hockey community.
From Oceania we hear how one international hockey player’s own struggles with mental health and depression have led her to commit her time and energy to helping others who face similar problems. Georgia Wilson has managed to quell her own demons by discovering that talking and seeking help is one way to find inner peace. Now she is pouring her energies into supporting others with mental health issues.
The Hockey Dreams Foundation continues to plough a path of sustainable hockey growth and development across parts of Africa. The launch of the Hockey Dreams Academy is the next step in developing a coaching and officiating structure that will not just raise hockey-playing standards but will also offer a sustainable career path for coaches from across a number of African states. The strong links with European clubs is a great example of well-planned collaboration providing opportunities from which all stakeholders can benefit.
In Asia there is growing excitement surrounding the prospect of a unified Korea women's hockey team participating in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Both the FIH and the Asian Hockey Federation are working closely with the national associations and national governments to make it happen. There is a long way to go and many logistical and cultural challenges to face along the way but the intent is strong and hopes are high for success.
Andy Adrians has represented Venezuela on 89 occasions and has great hopes of winning more caps for his country. But, at present Venezuela, which is a member of the PAHF continental federation, is torn apart by civil unrest and people are fleeing the country in droves, fearful both for their economic future but also in fear of their lives. Adrians was one such man and we hear how the trust, support and assistance of a hockey coach secured him safe passage to Chile, where he is now working as a professional hockey coach.
The Yugoslav Wars took place between 1991 and 2001 and led to the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. But time has gone a long way towards mending relationships between Balkan nations and, on the hockey pitch at least, the only tension now is a competitive one as the teams play for honours within the EuroHockey Championships as well as taking steps to compete on the wider international stage via the FIH Series Open. We hear how the EHF, the KNHB and the Balkan nations are all collaborating to raise standards of coaching, umpiring and playing at all levels across the region, demonstrating that neighbours can also be supportive friends.
Whether it is coping with the stresses of 21st century life, showing humanity to a person in times of trouble, mending rifts that have torn societies apart or welcoming new members into its global community, we hope our series of stories provide a demonstration of the power of sport to promote peace and development.
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