On the 10th Anniversary of winning their first ever industry award, Spirit of Soccer added to its growing list of recognitions last week when it received the award for Sport for Peace and Social Justice at the Beyond Sport Awards in New York.

The award was in recognition of our pioneering Countering Violent Extremism program in Iraq and was accepted by Mohammed Al Naquib, the Country Manager of Spirit of Soccer Iraq. Mohammad and his team of 50 male and female coaches have reached over 6,000 Flighting Age Males (FAM) in vulnerable communities that have been devastated by the war against ISIL and the subsequent civil unrest. The program uses soccer to provide safe, positive and educational programming to at-risk young men and has been supported by the US Department of State’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, and has attracted a huge amount of attention from different communities around the world interested in our model of tackling exclusion and extremism through sport.

The awards ceremony took place on the top of the One World Observatory overlooking the New York skyline in front of an audience of practitioners, funders, industry experts, coaches and academics from all over the world and comes with a prize of up to $50,000 in funding.

During the course of the Beyond Sport United summit that took place the following day, Spirit of Soccer CEO and Founder Scotty Lee represented the organization on a panel focusing on the Position of Sport as Mentors. The panel was moderated by Michelle Moore, Leadership Consultant and Speaker who proved to facilitate a lively and thought-provoking discussion. Scotty was joined by Dr. Anne Bunde-Birouste (Founder & CEO, Football United) and David Shapiro (CEO, MENTOR: The National Mentorship Partnership).

Elsewhere, Spirit of Soccer board member Mike Geddes moderated the panel which brought out the raw and compelling story of Michaylah Petersen of Waves for Change. She reminded the entire room of how sport has the ability to change and save lives.In a sign of increasing interest in our innovative CVE program, we have also been nominated for a at the World Football Summit Industry Awards in the category of ‘Best CSR Initiative’, to be held in Madrid, Spain on October 24th.

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