Midway through last night's vibrant cultural celebration, Saad Barhoum took to the stage. His delegation, The Peres Centre for Peace (Israel), had just performed a song in Arabic, Hebrew and English that featured traditional dances of both the Israeli-Jewish and Arab-Palestinian. And the crowd loved every second of it.

 

Two minutes later, there was barely a dry eye in the house. 

 

Speaking with courage and candour, Saad tried to explain just how much Festival 16 meant to him and implored those in attendance to be the change they want to see in the world. His words are shared below: 

 

Thank-you everyone who is sitting in front of me, for being here. Thanks to everyone who works to let that happen, and you people, thanks for being you.

 

It’s not going to take so much time and I won’t be late.

 

So, it’s so hard to me to say words that can describe the feeling that I have in this place with these amazing young people, but I can say that I didn’t have this feeling ever, before I came here. You see the power of football. It’s so unbelievable how football can be used. I’m standing right here in Lyon.

 

From all over the world; my best friends in this festival are from Colombia. We are not having the same language; they don’t speak English, I don’t speak Spanish, but we become friends just because we are human.

 

And I have a bad feeling about something, that I met here such amazing people that I can’t visit! Like Mohammed from Iraq and Captain Hiba from Lebanon, and it’s all because of politicians and wars that we don’t want but we can’t do a lot to fix these big problems, but I can promise you that we’re going to try and try, and we will do our best to do that.

 

We need people, young people to make the change. We need strong people who can stand with their nations and ask for their rights. We need people who work hard to bring peace to our world. We need people from all over the world to work with their society to be the best.

 

We need people like you to make this all happen. You are the people and I am one of you, and no one on earth can stop us with what we’re doing and what we believe in.

 

I’m visiting a new country that I’ve never been to before, and what I told my boss Sivan that I don’t care about seeing the city or watching the Euro matches. It is enough for me to be here with you, to meet and to share our dreams and our lives.

 

Thank-you for listening, and thank-you all for giving me the chance to stand right here and share what I feel.

 

I love you all. We are the change.

 

Thank-you.

"We need people like you to make this all happen. You are the people and I am one of you, and no-one on earth can stop us with what we’re doing and what we believe in."

Saad Barhoum
The Peres Centre for Peace