An estimated 10 million Scouts have participated in peace activities in 110 countries following a programme which was started by Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah and co-sponsored by Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf. It has been the largest and most successful programme ever undertaken by Scouts worldwide.
His Majesty Carl XVI Gustaf, King of Sweden and Honorary Chairman of the World Scout Foundation, visited the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from 20 to 24 February 2008 to mark the success of the Gifts for Peace programme and to plan the next steps together with His Majesty King Abdullah.
Together with the Governor of Riyadh, HRH Prince Salman, the King of Sweden opened a photo exhibition showing the impressive results of the worldwide Gifts for Peace programme.
The Gifts for Peace programme was initiated by King Abdullah in 2001, to help build understanding, and ultimately peace among young people in different communities and cultures.
Since then Scouts have taken part in community based programmes, addressing issues from inter-tribal conflict in Rwanda/Burundi, to inter-religious differences in Northern Ireland, and community tensions in post-Katrina New Orleans.
The exhibition photos were taken by Japanese photographer Yoshi Shimizu. “His dramatic photos have documented some of the most impressive Gifts for Peace – his work stands as a testament of the impact of the programme,” said Lars Kolind, Chairman of the World Scout Foundation.
The King of Sweden met with King Abdullah and recognized his important contribution by initiating him into the Foundation’s World Baden-Powell Fellowship and also into its Regal Circle.
The King of Sweden also met with HRH Prince Sultan, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, who made an important contribution to the World Scout Foundation to help continue this important work for peace.
King Carl Gustaf, himself an active Scout for over 50 years, joined with Saudi Scouts at a desert camp to discuss the interests, aspirations and beliefs of young people in Saudi Arabia today. Saudi Scouts are recognized throughout the Muslim world for the services they provide to millions of pilgrims during the annual Hajj.
When renowned Saudi businessman and philanthropist HRH Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal met with the Swedish monarch, the prince expressed his admiration and support for the work of Scouting around the world. He was also invested into the World Baden-Powell Fellowship.
Picture: King Carl XVI Gustaf presents King Abdullah with insignia for the Baden-Powell Fellowship, in recognition of his support for the world-wide Gifts for Peace programme.
© Saudi Press Agency