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Sports Programs

Kicking Footballs for Peace in Monza

Monza, Italy - Many say that peace can be reached through sports. The world-famous Pele himself said he has experienced how football can stop conflict at least temporarily, and this was exactly what UPF-Monza had in mind.

On June 24, the final matches of the UPF Monza’s Trophy of Peace were held. It was the final day of a nearly three-month football tournament, organized by Carlo Chierico, the Monza UPF president.

Since mid -pril, local teams of all kinds of racial and religious backgrounds had been facing each other every Sunday in this seven-team football tournament.

After the UPF International victory, the young Muslims of Monza-Brianza won third place playing against one of the two Bangladesh teams participating in the tournament.

The first and second places were an intense match between Africa and Ecuador, with a great victory of the African team supported by bongo playing and chanting fans, with a result of 5-2.

Having attended many of the games, one realizes how football, sports, athletics, and other areas of life such as music and arts are the common base for youth from all around the world. Under the surface, there is much more than meets the eye. Young players switch smoothly back and forth from their ‘mother tongue’ to Italian while speaking to each other. Immigration is not just immigration but also integration, and there is a new generation composed of individuals with a real multicultural upbringing.

Another African team that unfortunately did not make it to the finals was composed of African refugees. For men who escaped from Libya and recently arrived in refugee camps, this was one of their first opportunities to interact with their Italian neighbors.

The tournament built up to the final Sunday. There were Tibetan flags and Ecuadorian flags, African bongos and Muslim prayers, second-generation immigrants and Italian students all mixed together in one stadium. It was an amazing experience, and it was fun.

For more pictures and information, check out the official website:

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