The handover ceremony of “the Project for Rehabilitation of Sports Center in Mostar for Community Reconciliation through Sports Activities”
On October 9th, in Mostar, the handover ceremony of“the Project for Rehabilitation of Sports Center in Mostar for Community Reconciliation through Sports Activities” was organized by Mr. Ljubo Beslic, Mayor of the City of Mostar, with attendances of Mr. Nobuo Kishi, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Kazuya Ogawa, Ambassador of Japan in BH, both representing the Government of Japan, Mr. Josip Brkic, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Nevenko Herceg, Prime Minister of the Government of the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton, Mr. Tomislav Martinovic, Mr. Hasan Sisic, President of the Sports Association of the City of Mostar, Mr. Ivica Osim, a former coach of the Japanese national football team, and Ms. Sezin Sinanoglu, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in BH. In the ceremony, Mr. Kishi mentioned his expectation that the children, who will build future of the country, will nurture their friendship through sports by this project, and will become a bridge between different ethnic groups. Mr. Brkic and Mr. Beslic expressed their appreciation for the Japanese assistance in this project. Mr. Miyamoto sent a video message to the ceremony.
In this project, the Government of Japan donated EUR 226, 505 (approximately 443,000 KM) to the City of Mostar in order to rehabilitate a football field in a sports center of the city. Mostar was one of the major battlefield during the conflict in 1990s and is still divided between different ethnic groups. Using the football field, the local NPO “Mali Most” ( or “Little Bridge” in English) opens a football academy inviting children from different ethnic backgrounds and thus provides an opportunity for interactions among the different ethnic groups. This idea originally came from the FIFA Master Thesis in 2013 written by an academic group including Mr. Tsuneyasu Miyamoto, a former captain of the Japanese national football team.