On 1 April 2016, 14 runners from the Peace Run 2016 made a stop at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. UNESCO was a relay of their 24,000 km tour through 49 countries across Europe in their 2016 itinerary, for sharing a message of peace and mutual understanding among peoples. UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences, Nada Al-Nashif, received the Peace Run torch at UNESCO, during the European relay which was launched on 11 February 2016 by the President of the Council of Europe, Donald Tusk.
Founded in 1987, the Peace Run association was inspired by the poet, philosopher athlete and humanist Sri Chinmoy (1931-2007), who believed in all individuals’ capacity to transform the world by making a step towards peace. Peace Run is a global relay run and a grassroots event engaging individuals around the world to express their aspirations for harmony between peoples, with the torch as its symbol, passed hand in hand across countries, cities and regions to illustrate this unity beyond borders and cultures, and to celebrate the human being in all his rich diversity. UNESCO places this event in the context of the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022). The values and ideals embedded in sports are used to “promote respect for human rights and cultural diversity, (…) to fight against new forms of racism, discrimination, intolerance, extremism and radicalization, thus forging ties among peoples and nations.” Since its inception, the Peace Run has visited more than 140 countries around the world, in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and North America.