Driving forward their mission to deliver social change through sport, B4Development (B4D) and Generation Amazing collaborated with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) to organize an event in New York titled: “Using Behavioral Insights and Sports: Preventing Violent Extremism”.

The event took place at the UN headquarters and began with opening remarks from H.E. Sheikha Alya Ahmed Bin Saif Al Thani, the Permanent Representative of Qatar to the UN, along with an introductory message from H.E. Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC). Alongside Dr. Fadi Makki, head of B4D, speakers on the day included Marco A. Suazo, UNITAR New York Head of Office, and Professor Cass Sunstein, from Harvard University and the co-author of bestselling book Nudge.

Gathering leading experts from sport and behavioral science, the forum was designed to instigate initiatives and programs, as well as to explore possible solutions and trends on how sport can better impact issues such as inclusion, social cohesion and the prevention of violent extremism

During his message, Al Thawadi emphasised the importance of understanding behavioral patterns in order to better equip programs such as Generation Amazing, which delivers football for development initiatives in disadvantaged communities around the world.

Al Thawadi said: “We hope that relationships are strengthened through this collaboration and that today’s event serves as a stepping stone in taking this topic forward and in expanding the application of behavioral insight theory towards society’s most needy.”

In a panel discussion on leveraging behavioural insights in sport, Generation Amazing Programme Director Nasser Al Khori highlighted the ways in which Generation Amazing had collaborated with B4Development – a behavioural insights and nudge unit launched by the SC in 2016.

“We have partnered with B4Development to behaviorally inform our football for development programs internationally. One intervention was designed to help coach participants with key words that target objectives such as inclusivity, communication, tolerance and respect. We are using surveys to measure and evaluate the impact of these interventions.”

Al Khori said he believes Generation Amazing, which has reached more than 500,000 beneficiaries to-date, can continue to make a difference by understanding the people it helps on the ground.

“By building evidence for our work, we can better comprehend how we can empower and inspire a generation of youth to take the lead and tackle the most pressing issues affecting their communities.”

B4D’s Dr. Makki added: “The UNITAR forum was an excellent opportunity to gather and exchange ideas and experiences with international counterparts on the implementation of best practices in sport, especially when used with behavioral insights to prevent and counter violent extremism. The application of behavioral insights to these programs serves two key purposes – they help us better understand and assess behaviorally rooted challenges, as well as design interventions to test what works and therefore, strengthen the evidence base of these programs.”

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