San Marino, San Marino—Sixteen teenage boys from the Middle East came to this European microstate to take part in the “Football for Peace” project.
After a hiatus of two years because of the corona pandemic, “Football for Peace” resumed in 2022, held from August 25 to 29 by UPF-San Marino and the San Marino Football Federation.
The 16 boys from the Israeli-Palestinian area belong to different denominational backgrounds.
The project aims to foster integration and dialogue through playing football and sharing an experience abroad.
After their flight landed at Bologna, Italy, on Thursday, the boys and their instructors were accompanied by the San Marino Football Federation to San Marino.
On Friday the boys had a training session at the Federico Crescentini Stadium in the town of Fiorentino, together with peers from the San Marino Academy.
On Saturday morning, the visitors met San Marino’s captains regent—the two heads of state—H.E. Oscar Mina and H.E. Paolo Rondelli. Representatives of the San Marino Football Federation and UPF also attended the meeting. Then, after having lunch in the historic center of San Marino, there was another training session in the town of Montegiardino.
On Sunday morning, the visitors played a friendly match together with San Marino and Italian peers who are part of the San Marino Academy, before an afternoon of leisure and fun at the San Marino Adventures park.
One of the dignitaries accompanying the teenagers was Hon. Zouheir Bahloul, a former member of the Knesset in Israel. He is an Israeli Arab, a well-known sports broadcaster and an experienced journalist and politician. This was his third time to be present at the “Football for Peace" project.
Dr. Gerardo Giovagnoli , a member of parliament in San Marino, gave a speech at the meeting with the two heads of state, explaining the significance of the “Football for Peace" project.