SAMUEL ETO'O AND FARE RECEIVE EUROPEAN MEDAL

On Monday 9th March Samuel Eto'o, along with the NGO Football Against Racism Europe (FARE), was presented with the third European Medal of Tolerance for "exceptional achievements" in tackling discrimination through football. The medal was presented by the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR) an NGO established in 2008 by former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski and European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor to monitor tolerance in Europe.

The European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR) a non-partisan, ngo made up of former leaders and other senior public figures staged a major award ceremony at Kensington Palace, London. The organisation, which was established in 2008 by Aleksander Kwasniewski, former President of the Republic of Poland and Dr. Moshe Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress counts many former religious and political leaders on its Board of Governers.
‘Although Sport Against Racism Ireland has an education programme called ‘Beyond Tolerance', we recognise that many societies have to start at the first rung of the tolerance ladder' said Ken Mc Cue, a Cultural Planner with SARI's Global Development Education Office.
Mc Cue, who was the SARI delegate to the inaugural meeting of Football Against Racism Europe in Vienna in 1999 and is accredited with inventing the name ‘FARE', was invited to the event where the organisation was awarded the European Medal of Tolerance by the ECTR.
Along with honouring FARE with the Gold Medal, Dr. Kantor, as President of ECTR announced that the organisation will enter into a strategic alliance with FARE to promote tolerance in Football. The initiative, which will be an action programme with the three prongs of ‘Engagement, Education, Legislation', will operate from the present up the Russia World Cup in 2018.
‘For our part, SARI will be working with our Polish partners, ‘Never Again' on a cultural integration and social inclusion project in Kazan, one of the host cities for WC 2018. Our experience in developing the ‘Hijabs and Hat Tricks' programme in the Irish Republic will be invaluable in terms of presenting a platform to further community cohesion using the popular medium of Football. ‘Never Again' on the other hand are the experts in the fields of the Near East and have been working bravely fighting racism and sectarianism in those territories. Stitching the Kazan Intercultural Campaign (KIC) into the ‘'United Initiative against Intolerance in Football'' will provide a strong grassroots foundation to foster good community relations and participation in decision making leading up to the big tournament. We want our efforts to create a legacy out of the World Cup that will be a permanent community partnership that will develop the city of Kazan into a model of interculturalism connecting Muslim and Christian.
The event, which was attended by a number of former Presidents of European countries, also honoured the Cameroononian footballer and anti-racist campaigner, Samuel Eto'o with a European Medal for Tolerance for his humanitarian work on and off the field.
In his speech, the U. C. Sampdoria player, told the audience about his experience of arriving in Paris as a 15 year old with a ‘small bag and a pair of football boots but with a big heart'.
Samuel took the opportunity to talk about his private foundation that is dedicated to providing education and coaching facilities to youngsters in his home country and beyond. His academy project in Kribi is now replicated in Gabon. Ken Mc Cue told Samuel that he would meet with the Cameroon community in Ireland, in particular football coaches, Joseph N'Do and Patrice Ngu along with Emmanuel Sone, the Health Advocacy Office of Cairde in order to draw up a support network for the ‘Foundation Samuel Eto'o'.

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