International Day of Sport for Development and Peace Activities

Written By Sally Forsyth

International Day of Sport for Development and Peace Lesson Plans

The United Nations International Day of sport for development and peace aims to encourage the role of sport to promote solidarity and brotherhood. It also has the objective to be a tool to promote peace and understanding to unite people from different countries, races, religions, and backgrounds. Celebrated on April 6th every year, it also marks the anniversary of the beginning of the Olympics, in the modern era, in 1896 in Athens, Greece.

This special day is an excellent opportunity to engage students in class with a lesson or two focusing on sport and raising awareness of how sport can be used for a greater purpose. Students may also enjoy learning how sports celebrities are using their fame to promote charities and wonderful causes to really create an impact in local and global communities.

Below are some great ideas to highlight the significance of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace which you can incorporate into your lessons!

1. Starting Activity

As a starting activity, have the students watch these two short videos. The first one explains in more detail about the International Day of Sport for Development and  Peace. The second one shows an example of how sport contributed to peace in the Congo, Central Africa.

International Day of Sport for Development and Peace

Example of Sport and Peace in the Congo

2. Sports celebrities who have made a difference

Many sports celebrities from a variety of different sports have dedicated time and money to make a difference with the charity work of one kind or another. Sometimes it may be in the local area where they grew up, and sometimes it can be on a national or even global level. Have students read this blog about the charity work of 10 sports stars.

Charity work of 10 sports stars

  • After reading the article, have students research another example of a sports celebrity who has made an impact in some way and really wants to make a difference.
  • As a follow-up activity, they can write a biographical article about their chosen sports star.
  • Alternatively, they can write a letter to him or her congratulating them on using their fame and material resources to really make a difference in society.

3. Plan a charity sports match

Encourage students to work in teams to plan a charity sports match in school for a local charity. They will need to decide which sport and then get students to sign up. It could be a match against students from other grades or even against teachers. They then need to create publicity for this event and decide how they will raise funds from the match. It could be by selling tickets or by selling drink and snacks. They could ask the participants to pay a certain amount to play.

4. Sport as a tool for peace

Read this article about basketball bringing young people together from different sides of a conflict in Serbia. Have a class discussion about how sport played an important role in bringing people together who would normally not associate with each other.

Basketball beats ethnic divisions in Serbia

5. Invictus movie: sport as a tool for bringing people together

The movie Invictus tells the true story of how South African president Nelson Mandela brought people together using sport, The movie relates how Mandela used the country's passion for the sport of rugby to unite the country after the dissolution of the apartheid system in the 1990s.

Here is a trailer for the movie and a clip from one of the scenes close to the end of the movie:

Invictus trailer

Watching the final

  • Have your students watch the film to understand how sport became a tool for bringing people together.
  • First, give them some basic facts and background information about South Africa and the apartheid system
  •  Explain the game of rugby if they are not familiar with it!

Here are some discussion questions for the class after watching the film.

  1. What challenges did Mandela face at the beginning of the film?
  2. Why did he decide to lend his support to the South African national team? Why was his relationship with the capital of the team important?
  3. How did sport become a tool for peace and building relationships in post-apartheid South Africa?
  4. For ESL students here are some worksheets on the film which may be useful for the language learners in your class!
  5. ESL worksheets on Invictus

6. Speech activity

Ask the students to write a persuasive speech on one of the following topics aimed at a teenage audience. The objective is to persuade the audience of the many benefits of sport on an individual level and to society as a whole.

How does sport encourage one of the following?

  • Our physical development
  • Promotion of good health
  • Equality  between the sexes
  • lth promotion and disease prevention
  • Conflict resolution and the building of peace
  • Normalization of life after disaster or trauma
  • Development of the economy
  • Communication.

In the speech, students should include the following rhetorical devices.

  •  Rhetorical questions
  • Emotive language
  • Repetition
  • Personal pronouns
  • Facts and Statistics to support their argument
  • Rule of Three

7. Extreme sports

Many students are really interested in extreme sports. From parkour to hang gliding, there are all kinds of extreme sports which fascinate teenagers. If you have any international students in your class who are English language learners, here are some cool lessons on extreme sports.

Extreme Sports White Water Rafting

Amazing Wheelchair Jump

Adrenalin: Extreme sports.



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About the author

Sally Forsyth is a High school English teacher and an educational coach. She has worked in national and internatonal schools in different countries and different school systems, She is also the founder of CoachMyFuture, a coaching organization focusing on coaching teachers and educators in the educational sector.

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