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Breaking boundaries and building bridges through sport


Breaking boundaries and building bridges through sport

The Sport as a Mediator between Cultures conference was held from 15-17 September, 2011. Hosted by the Israel Ministry of Culture and Sport and the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Germany. The conference highlighted the great initiatives which are ongoing in the sport for development community.

ICSSPE President Margaret Talbot closed the conference with her final report, which outlined the various discussions which took place over the three day event, emphasising the importance of the intrinsic values of sport and physical education. Over the course of the conference there was a consensus that sport does contribute to issues including social and cultural interaction; reconciliation and reconstruction; building trust and co-operation; gender empowerment; inclusion; skills development and capacity building.

More than just early childhood development
Whilst welcoming research initiatives focusing on the use of sport in mediating across borders, and the sharing of knowledge between organisations in order to improve upon practice and policy it was agreed that a lot of work still needs to be done in the academic, practical and especially political fields to establish knowledge and acceptance of sport as a means for development and peace. Margaret Talbot suggests that outside the sector it is accepted that sport can be a tool for learning for younger children, but rarely associated with older children, adults and senior adults. Attendees at the conference agreed that projects for adults are equally important with Elizabeth Longworth, Deputy Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences, UNESCO, summarising that sport  "provides us with a platform which is shaped by the intrinsic values of fair play, non discrimination, respect for others and integrity".

A call for more collaboration moving forward
Wilfried Lemke, Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace, acknowledged the value of conferences such as these because it, “gathered respected experts and researchers from more than 30 countries crucial in order to provide a sound, solid layer of authoritative knowledge to our relatively young field of work.” Many of the attendees expressed their hope for increased collaboration between academics, foundations, ministries, local agencies and people from the field in furthering the field of development through sport.

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Please click here for abstracts and presentations from the conference.


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Daniel Idowu


Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - 23:00

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