(MENAFN - Gulf Times) The 2022 FIFA World Cup is a first and foremost opportunity for the Arab world and the Middle East to highlight their true and peaceful nature to the rest of the world, HE the Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani has said.
He was speaking at the inauguration of the "Adaptation of Sport for Sustainable Development" Exhibition organised by Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), on the sidelines of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
'The organisation of the 2022 FIFA World Cup gives the State of Qatar a great opportunity to stimulate innovation, positive change and sustainable development. The State of Qatar is currently building eight stadiums, 64 training grounds, five fan areas and accommodation, as well as major infrastructure developments including roads, railways and airports, HE Sheikh Mohamed explained.
*2022 will 'bring people together, overcoming geographical,
religious, cultural and linguistic differences'
'The State of Qatar is taking advantage of this opportunity to promote innovation and technology and provide a platform for young people for innovation and entrepreneurship, noting that all this is under the umbrella of sustainability, with respect for culture, and aims to accelerate progress towards achieving national development goals as well as creating a lasting legacy for Qatar, the Middle East, Asia and the world.
'It is a great honour to be happy in a country that has been chosen to be the host country for the events of the 2022 FIFA World Cup as it is the first time to host such a tournament in our region.
"The World Cup is an occasion to bring people together, overcoming geographical, religious, cultural and linguistic differences," the foreign minister said, adding that there are well-organised activities that will teach participants values such as tolerance, empathy, integration, respect, dialogue, reconciliation, courage, self-discipline, strategies and leadership, he added.
Meanwhile, the SC secretary general Hassan al-Thawadi highlighted at the event sport's power to transform a region's social and economic development during a speech at the United Nations.
He pointed out Qatar's vision had not changed since the country won the right to host the tournament in 2010.
'When we bid to host the FIFA World Cup, we recognised the immense potential of bringing an event to the Middle East and the Arab world for the first time, he pointed out.
'We firmly believed that the time was right for our region to be given the opportunity to showcase itself to the world in a new light. It is an unfortunate reality that much of the world views our region through a lens clouded by conflict and negative headlines. Our vision is to transform that view.