On Tuesday 22 January 2008 in Geneva, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) entered into a partnership with top Spanish club Barcelona. Joan Laporta, President of Barcelona, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, signed the agreement.
The main aim of the partnership, which is currently scheduled to last for three years, is to make people aware of the need to protect refugees as well as the importance of sport in terms of education and integration. The first step will involve UNHCR and Barcelona carrying out certain refugee projects together in Ecuador, Nepal and Rwanda.
"The two institutions will be combining their strengths to improve the quality of life of refugee children via common initiatives and programmes," commented the Catalan team. "This is our next big challenge. We are sending a message out to the world, but this is not just a message; we will be taking action as well," said Laporta after the official signing.
"We believe that Barca will open a number of doors for us to make society aware of the plight of refugees," added Guterres.