The Speech that Inspired a Global Project

“Scouts are messengers of goodwill, love and peace for all the world. I beseech Allah to help scouts make a significant contribution to serving humanity and uniting the peoples of the world. Humanity will persist as long as man continues to care for his fellow man. I believe you have made such great impact on the minds of 28 million youths. I wish you good luck and further success in your noble mission, which aims at goodwill for all mankind.”

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

This inspiring speech was delivered by King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in 1422 H, 2001 (when he was Crown Prince) to welcome participants to the 23rd Arab Scout Conference held under his patronage in Riyadh. The speech has sparked one of the most important international humanitarian projects. From that speech stemmed King Abdullah’s idea of preparing scouts everywhere around the world to be messengers of peace in their countries and for all mankind.

International Response to King Abdullah’s Speech

King Abdullah’s call for Scouts to be “Messengers of Peace” earned widespread international response given its uniqueness and noble purpose, and given worldwide esteem and high regard for His Majesty. Scouts around the world quickly responded to his call. King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf – the Honorary Chairman of the World Scout Foundation – eagerly supported the initiative. He had attended the event and listened directly to King Abdullah’s speech and call, was inspired by it, and shared with him his faith in scouts’ active role in reinforcing security and peace around the world wherever they may be. So the World Scout Foundation adopted this initiative and officially called it “Messengers of Peace”. This was the original name created by King Abdullah and mentioned in his speech addressing scout leaders and members in Riyadh.

The Beginning

Ever since the idea was launched by King Abdullah in 2001, the project has undergone several stages, starting with rapid widespread endorsement of his call, to establishing Phase 1 of the ambitious world program in 2003, whose implementation encompassed troubled areas of the world such as Palestine, Bosnia, Herzegovina and other countries.

In 2006, the Saudi Scouts hosted 1500 scouts from 85 countries in Jubail Industrial City, adopting for this camp the slogan “Together for Peace”. At the time, King Abdullah’s call was answered by more than 10 million scouts from 110 countries within just 5 years.

The camp in Jubail was one of the presents given by scouts for promoting peace in response to the call of King Abdullah who – two years later – sponsored the World Scout Exhibition for Peace in 2008 in Riyadh as one of the World Scout Foundation’s events aimed at spreading the culture of peace. Riyadh was the Exhibition’s first stop before touring other countries’ capitals. During the Exhibition, the World Scout Foundation awarded King Abdullah the Baden-Powell Fellowship, in addition to membership in the Foundation, by its Honorary President the King of Sweden, in appreciation for King Abdullah’s efforts to support the world scout movement and reinforce international peace.

Since its idea was launched in 2001, the project became known as “Peace Gifts”. It was when the Scout Leaders Camp was held in Jeddah in 2011, which embodied both the spirit and content of King Abdullah’s idea, that the name “Messengers of Peace” was adopted.

Though the project had already achieved widespread response and great achievements in the 10 years since its idea was first launched by the “King of Humanity” and until 2011, King Abdullah’s ambition for the project remained as fervent as the day it was launched. The project developed more widely after the Scouts Leaders Camp in Jeddah titled “Messengers of Peace” and after King Abdullah’s generous grant to World Scout Foundation was announced. The grant of more than $37 million was given to the World Scout Foundation as an endowment whose revenues would be allocated to supporting peace reinforcement programs and training scout leaders on implementing such programs. These programs would in turn support scout associations’ programs in poor countries, qualify scout leaders, and organize and hold events in those countries through programs supervised by World Scout Foundation for 10 years until 2020.

The Project

“Messengers of Peace” is a window to the world via scouts. It is one of the world’s most important projects geared at supporting peace, dialogue, health, the environment, and conflict resolution among and within societies. The project enables scouts to be peace advocates by forming a global scout network qualified to reinforce peace and love, beyond ethnic and cultural boundaries, in conflict-ridden communities.

The vision of the project’s originator and catalyst, King Abdullah, has led two-thirds of the world’s scouts – amounting to 30 million – to be messengers of peace who can change the world for the better. It’s a goal they achieve by offering messages of peace to nearly 200 million people by 2020; encouraging scouts worldwide to believe in the culture of dialogue; supporting scouts’ initiatives for social projects around the world; focusing on scouts’ skills and capabilities to help youths in conflict zones; and motivating young people who are not members of the scout movement to realize the importance of promoting peace and tolerance by establishing a global “Messengers of Peace” network.

Project Scope and Duration

This global project’s activities are focused on initiatives, dialogue, conflict resolution, and formation of networks able to grow and expand in order to achieve desired objectives.

The project has a 10-year duration (2011-2020) and is implemented by the World Scout Foundation in collaboration with the Saudi Arabian Boy Scouts Association.

Continuing the Journey

To pursue King Abdullah’s path, King Abdullah Foundation has been supporting the project. His Royal Highness Prince Turki bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, the Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer, signed a memorandum of understanding in June 2016  with World Scout Foundation, to support World Scout efforts to spread peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Central Africa in order to help its residents overcome the effects of wars and disasters, propagate the culture of peace, and raise awareness about the importance of coexistence and reconciliation to build the future of nations. Foundation financing for the Congo project is one million Saudi riyals, and project duration is 3 years ending in 2018.

Project Goals

The main objective is to attract 20 million scouts around the globe to the project, where at least two-thirds out of the world’s 30 million scouts would become active and efficient messengers of peace who are able to change this world for the better. Also among the objectives is bringing messages of peace to at least 200 million people around the world by 2020.

Most Important Achievements

  • Attracting more than 150 countries and more than 10 million young people to join the project so far.
  • Implementing a total of 108 projects until 2014, distributed as follows: 11 projects in Africa, 17 in Arab States, 49 in the Asia-Pacific countries, 19 in Europe, and 12 in Central America.
  • Registering a total of 572 million working hours since launching the project.
  • Establishing institutional networking partnerships among scout organizations in various countries of the world spanning various civilizations, religions and ethnicities, and deepening the concept of peace and brotherhood among them.
  • Contributing to the Agricultural Development Project in Indonesia.
  • Enabling “Messengers of Peace” from Salvador’s local scouts to resolve some of the conflicts between armed groups and some young people.
  • Facing the disaster of the massive earthquake that struck the Philippines.
  • Helping Syrian refugees along the Lebanese borders.
  • Establishing affinity between the Tutsis and Hutus tribes in Rwanda, after a vicious war between them.
  • Signing a memorandum of understanding, at the end of December 2015, between the Arab Scout Organization and the Arab Bureau of Education of the Gulf States that involved the activation of the “Messengers of Peace” project in the Bureau’s member states.

  • Participating in rescue operations that included residents of Port-au-Prince, province of Tabarre, Haiti Republic.
  • Training 2500 young males and females in the city of Quharhakh Verdian in the Republic of Armenia on volunteerism and social and environmental responsibility.
  • Helping to bring between Protestants and Catholics closer in several European countries.
  • Signing a memorandum of understanding between King Abdullah Foundation and World Scout Foundation, to support World Scouts’ efforts to promote peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Central Africa in order to help people overcome the effects of wars and disasters, to propagate the culture of peace, and raise awareness about the importance of coexistence and reconciliation to build the future of nations. Foundation financing for the Congo project is one million Saudi riyals, and project duration is 3 years ending in 2018.
  • Serving millions of hajj pilgrims each year via the “Messengers of Peace” members from the Saudi Scouts.
  • Inspiring the Boy Scouts of America to implement three initiatives that promote the culture of dialogue and peace advocated by the project.
  • Launching numerous projects in Slovenia, Bosnia, Kenya, Ethiopia and other countries.