Your Highness Prince Faisal
Mayor Thomas Menino
Dear Baden Powell Fellows
Ladies and Gentlemen
No matter where we go in the world with the World Scout Foundation, we are always highly impressed with the energy, enthusiasm and hopefulness of the scouts we meet. And today in Fan Pier, with the 300 scouts from Boston, was a shining example of this.
The Volvo Ocean Race is an ideal setting for us to meet these scouts. Because here they are face to face with real modern heroes. Heroes who have braved monstrous seas, overcome their own fear, and learned to live with this restless planet of ours. These sailors, some also to be seen here tonight, are role models that young scouts can believe in. You are living the ideals that they can dream to realize; facing up to the elements, learning to respect the environment, working in multicultural and international teams. You are earning the respect and the goodwill of all the nations that you touch along the race.
The responsibility is great and I challenge each and everyone to inspire many more young people to join in – not just in sailing, but in how to lead your lives.
It is fitting that tonight, in the presence of these sportsmen, that we also celebrate some other heroes. This time, idols within the ranks of scouting. As we enjoyed our cocktail we were able to see the work of 10 million of them. They are the scouts who defy a different kind of barrier and also work for peace and understanding within their own communities.
Back in 2001, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia looked at the world and saw increasing mistrust and hatred spreading like wildfire. He inspired the World Scout Movement with a programme called Gifts for Peace. In just five years, this programme motivated 10 million young people in 110 countries to do something to change that world, to overcome conflicts and to create more peaceful communities.
Let me give you some examples:
It takes a lot as a Hutu to shake the hand of a Tutsi neighbour in the Great Lakes of Africa, or for a Catholic in Belfast to pass over the peace line and become friends with a protestant, or to brake the taboos of the slums in Nairobi or Cape Town and deal with issues like prostitution or HIV/AIDS! But that is what these 10 million heroes have done and will continue to do.
It can be read about in more detail in a book you will receive when leaving tonight. However, believe me, this has been an amazing achievement.
A warm thanks to the kindness of King Abdullah - and Your Highness, please pass on our sincere appreciation to His Majesty, as well as to the millions of local leaders who work voluntarily to make this happen.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We might have a picture of scouting being a western movement, or a Christian organisation. Well, the wonderful truth about scouting is that it is a global, multicultural network. Imagine, 30 million young people in one million local troops worldwide.
Prince Faisal leads over 100,000 Boy Scouts in Saudi Arabia. This occurs every year in the Holy Hajj Pilgrimage. Over 4,500 work day and night to help the millions of pilgrims to the Holy Sites of Mecca and Medina. In just one day, a thousand scouts in Riyadh collected over 28 tons of litter in a “desert clean-up." Just like here in the United States where scouts last year organised the largest ever service activity together with the national parks.
All these young people have one thing in common. They possess the joy, energy, training and the leadership to do a great job. Just like us, they look for inspiration. And in the heroes of the Volvo Ocean Race, or the role models of the Gifts for Peace, they can find that stimulation to help them make a huge difference.
The Gifts for Peace programme shows, that Scouting is a great investment. The idea was born and a short five years later 10 million young people in 110 countries are doing amazing work affecting hundreds of millions of lives.
Today has been a celebration of these boys and girls. And with tonight´s fundraising you will help these youths to make a better world.
Thank you all for your contribution!