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The Long Game A co-production with Doha Debates

Soccer Opens Path to Reconciliation

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A Rwandan soccer player is using the sport to promote unity and tolerance among his country’s youth.

Eric Eugene Murangwa was a 19-year-old goalkeeper for Rwanda’s most beloved soccer team when the 1994 Rwandan genocide against the Tutsis began. On the first day of the genocide, soldiers came to Murangwa’s house, looking for enemies of the state. But one of the soldiers saw an album filled with photos of his time with the team, and Murangwa was saved. He spent much of the genocide in hiding, helped by his teammates and supporters of his soccer club, many of them Hutus. Today, Murangwa is the founder of an organization called Football for Hope, Peace and Unity. It uses the sport as a tool to promote tolerance, unity, and reconciliation among Rwandan youth in order to prevent tragedies like the 1994 genocide from ever happening again.

About The Long Game:  On The Long Game, we highlight stories of courage and conviction on and off the field. From athletes who are breaking barriers for women and girls to a Syrian refugee swimmer who overcame the odds to compete at the Paralympics, The Long Game examines the power of sport to change the world for the better. The Long Game is hosted by Olympic medalist and change agent Ibtihaj Muhammad as she guides the series around the globe to meet athletes who are fighting for change.  See All Episodes

More The Long Game episodes:

Boxing Provides a Path Out of Poverty for Girls in Pakistan

A young boxer is using the sport to change her country’s gender norms.

TIBU Africa Changes Lives Through Sports

A former basketball player is changing the lives of African youth through the power of sports.

Athletes Join the Fight for Women’s Rights in Iran

How can the 2022 World Cup shed light on Iran’s domestic issues?

Other Foreign Policy podcasts:

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A Russian flag at the Embassy of Russia is seen through a bus stop post in Washington, DC on April 15, 2021. - The US announced sanctions against Russia on April 15, 2021, and the expulsion of 10 diplomats in retaliation for what Washington says is the Kremlin's US election interference, a massive cyber attack and other hostile activity. President Joe Biden ordered a widening of restrictions on US banks trading in Russian government debt, expelled 10 diplomats who include alleged spies, and sanctioned 32 individuals alleged to have tried to meddle in the 2020 presidential election, the White House said. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
A Russian flag at the Embassy of Russia is seen through a bus stop post in Washington, DC on April 15, 2021. - The US announced sanctions against Russia on April 15, 2021, and the expulsion of 10 diplomats in retaliation for what Washington says is the Kremlin's US election interference, a massive cyber attack and other hostile activity. President Joe Biden ordered a widening of restrictions on US banks trading in Russian government debt, expelled 10 diplomats who include alleged spies, and sanctioned 32 individuals alleged to have tried to meddle in the 2020 presidential election, the White House said. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

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