World Harmony Run to enlist youth to fight hunger and poverty
Over one million people involved – running start at FAO
27 March 2008, Rome - The World Harmony Run, expected to involve over one million people worldwide, took a running start from FAO headquarters today at a ceremony at which Africa’s first New York City marathon winner and UNICEF Ambassador Tegla Loroupe and FAO Goodwill Ambassador Gina Lollobrigida and other celebrities participated.
Founded two decades ago by the spiritual leader and peace activist Sri Chinmoy to promote world peace, the World Harmony Run is now the world’s longest global relay. The run is a non-profit event organized entirely by volunteers involving in particular children and students.
“For FAO, the twinning together of sports and development is a long standing tradition. Our own international Run For Food Race marks the World Food Day we celebrate every year. Last year, 10 000 people took part in Cuba alone, while in Romethe 2008 Run for Food will take place on 19 October 2008. Sports events such as this are an excellent way to help raise awareness,” said FAO Deputy Director-General James Butler.
Over a period of seven months, relay teams will carry the World Harmony Run torch through 100 countries, covering over 24 000 km and 49 countries in Europe and also involving North Africa, Australia and the United States “in a bid to demonstrate that the world is one family for which peace and harmony are essential to its survival,” said event organizer, Stefano Cenni.
After the opening at FAO where the torch was lit, runners proceeded to Rome’s Colosseum and the Campidoglio. From there runners will cover 100 to 150 km a day in teams of 10 to 12 volunteers, stopping at towns throughout Europe to arrive at the final destination of Prague by 6 October. In parallel, similar events will take place in other regions with the aim of involving as many people as possible in this global event.
Two vehicles follow the teams of runners as they carry the torch from town to town each day with each runner expected to cover 10 km or more. An estimated 500 children are likely to assist each day with the run through municipal groups, schools and athletic associations, helping to provide food and lodging for the teams.
To find out more about the World Harmony Run and the progress of the running teams visit “News from the road” at www.worldharmonyrun.org
Media Relations, FAO
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