Sports Programs

Play Soccer for Peace Wins Russian Award

Lake Seliger, Russia - UPF's Play Football for Peace organizers were awarded a grant from Russia's National Prospects Foundation and met President Vladimir Putin during the annual Seliger Forum August 1 and 2.

During the Forums Technology of Goodness shift, the leader of Play Football for Peace, Dmitry Samko, was confronted with two challenges: on one hand, he was to organize a tournament for participants from different regions, and on the other hand, he wanted to present the project in the competition for a grant from the National Prospects Foundation. Experts from the Foundation evaluated many competing programs according to different aspects: feasibility, practicality, risk, broad applicability, the project team's presentation, impact, and cost-effectiveness.

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The Seliger forum is a unique youth project held on the shores of the picturesque Lake Seliger in the Tver region north of Moscow. Participants can submit their ideas and projects to gain access to investments, grants, funds of private companies and state corporations, and government programs. This year's forum included 11 theme sessions and attracted thousands of young participants from throughout Russia and other nations who displayed their civic, business, voluntary, creative, and information projects.

Play Football for Peace not only obtained financial support from the foundation but the organizers received a special invitation to join the final shift of the Forum and meet President Putin. They shook hands and got his autograph when he stopped to observe project volunteers training children from the Ostashkovo children’s home in drawing, painting pottery, and playing chess.

Dmitry Samko shared his impressions: “There’s no doubt that such an informal and personal meeting with President Putin fills us with optimism and confidence that volunteers are needed in Russia and that volunteer movements can make this world a better place. I completely agree with Vladimir Vladimirovich, who declared: 'The last speaker said he wanted to make the world a better place. All of us want to make the world a better place. Let us then make effort and realize our dream.'”

UPF's Play Football for Peace project has been developing in Russia for several years and has gained increasing recognition. Tournaments for children and teenagers are held locally in all regions of the Republic, and Moscow teams participate in international competitions. In addition, the project received an award in the Year of Youth (2009) and gained recognition by the UN headquarters in Russia after the International Day of Peace in 2010.

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