Scouts receive award from HM King of Sweden for outstanding contribution towards creating positive impact in communities
Earlier last week, a select group of Scouts, Scout leaders and teams from around the world received the coveted Messengers of Peace Hero Award, an accolade bestowed by the government of Saudi Arabia on behalf of His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia. The Award was first introduced in 2012 to recognise Scouts, volunteers and professionals as heroes in their communities for their outstanding work towards creating a better world.
On 23 November 2016, 18 Scouts gathered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to receive the award at a significant ceremony in the distinguished presence of His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden Honorary Chairman of the World Scout Foundation, high authorities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and members of the World Scout Foundation (WSF). A total of 24 Scouts and Scout groups from 23 countries from the six regions of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) were recognised as Messengers of Peace Heroes.
One of the youngest recipients is 16-year-old Katie Hancock from the United States of America, who was recognised for her swift action in raising funds locally and delivering goods to families affected by the severe floods in Lubbock, Texas, this year.
In Thailand, the Scouts of the World team, comprising Scout leaders and local volunteers, engaged in mentoring over 500 young Rovers to develop community service projects that are inspired by peace, sustainable development and environmental causes.
In Colombia, Monica Figueroa, initiated a Messengers of Peace project named Books For All. The founder of a local foundation advocating literacy and opportunities for underprivileged children at risk, she started this project to inspire Scouts in Colombia to collect books and distribute them to various local communities. Thus far, the project has contributed over 20,000 books to more than 200 local libraries, and has become a global campaign.
Meanwhile, the Scouts of Lesbos, Greece, have been welcoming and at times, rescuing refugees who are making the hazardous journey from the Middle East to Europe. These Messengers of Peace helped to build tents in refugee camps, gathered, prepared and distributed food, and assisted in the management of the refugee crisis. They have also been recognised by UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, for their tireless efforts.
Prior to the event, the exemplary Scouts also shared their experiences and presented their stories to honourable guests interested in learning more about the impact of Scouting.
Throughout the world, Scouts work towards creating positive change and establishing peace in their communities in many different ways – from assisting in relief operations after devastating natural disasters in Haiti and Ecuador; helping displaced communities in conflict areas such as Syria and Lebanon; preventing bullying in schools in Costa Rica; encouraging interactions, integrating communities and working with refugees in Europe; to leading social mobilisation initiatives in Ebola-stricken Sierra Leone – and the recipients of the Award have significantly contributed to raising the profile of Scouting in these areas.
Scouting is one of the world’s leading educational youth movements with 40 million active citizens around the world committed to promote the culture of peace and create positive change in the community. The Movement, through its World Scout Programmes and local initiatives, has contributed more than 700 million service hours to communities worldwide. It aims to achieve one billion community service hours by year 2020.
Read more about the Messengers of Peace Hero Award recipients here!
Photo credit: Bernando De Leon, Cynthia Marquez, Edgardo Alberto Fuertes Esquivel, Jaenal Mutakin, Jenn Hancock, Lertchanta Ally Seeluangsawat, May Abdelhadi, Michal Medek, Mohamed Nidhal Arfaoui