To say that UN officials carry much of the world on their shoulders it’s an understatement. That’s why we at Move Sports are incredibly happy to be able to provide almost 1500 of them with a well-deserved fun and exciting sports festival in the city of Lisbon, where they can have fun and connect with colleagues from all around the world while enjoying the great weather and amazing sports facilities the city has to offer. On the second day of the 2019 edition of the Inter-Agency Games, we went to the food court placed at the Lisbon University Stadium to speak to a number of the event’s participants in order to understand their work better and to get a feeling for their opinions on the tournament.
Power to the world
The International Atomic Energy Agency – or “Atoms for Peace and Development”, as it is known across the world, is the world's centre for cooperation in the nuclear field, promoting the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technology in areas such as energy, healthcare, agriculture and clean water. Quite the job description! Therefore, it’s a joy to find about 500 of these highly skilled officials having a blast in badminton, darts, golf, chess, volleyball, athletics, swimming, tennis and pétanque.
Human development at heart
A much smaller but hugely impactful group travelled from the offices of UNICEF and the World Food Program in Mozambique, where they work with local authorities on education, health, food safety, water, basic sanitation, poverty eradication and – given the recent devasting tornados that spread destruction on the African country – emergency relief. The Inter-Agency Games provide a much-needed break for these courageous men and women that came to Lisbon to play football and compete in athletics and swimming.
A multinational work-force for good
At a table nearby we found a large group of lively officials from UN City Copenhagen, a joint-venture of sorts between 11 different UN organisations, comprised of about 1500 people from more than countries. Their work covers migrations and refugees, poverty eradication, environment protection, children’s rights, sustainable industrial development in developing countries, gender equality and women empowerment, food safety and healthcare. Citizens from such countries as Denmark, Canada, India, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Switzerland, Spain, England, Myanmar, Austria, USA and Norway, amongst others, flew to Lisbon to participate in the 46th Inter-Agency Games.
Great city, great weather, great facilities
What do all these men and women have in common, besides working for UN (and, in a way, for all of us)? They are unanimous when it comes to the motivation for participating in the event and about this year’s edition in Lisbon. For all of them, Inter-Agency Games is a fun and leisure event that offers an unparalleled opportunity to meet people from other countries and UN agencies: a networking event of sorts for UN officials, contributing to the overall improved functioning of the world-sized organization. They also sing praise for the beauties of Lisbon and its warm and sunny weather, especially in this time of the year. Many plan to stay in Lisbon for a couple more days after the sports festival to get to know the city and the surrounding area: tours of Cascais and Sintra are amongst the favourites.
When it came to the sports facilities, Henrik Steenberg, a Danish national working for UNDP at UN City Copenhagen, said it best: “It’s really nice that [almost] all the sports are in one place, so you can go watch badminton, watch some pétanque, see football – so we can support each other at the same time. Other years it was spread across [the city], so we didn’t have that opportunity. It’s really nice! Also, the food court here has so many options… it’s nice”.
We’re sure many Inter-Agency Games participants will come back to Lisbon in the near future!