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The UNESCO Chair in Inclusive Physical Education, Sport, Fitness and Recreation


The UNESCO Chair in Inclusive Physical Education, Sport, Fitness and Recreation

This article provides an introduction to the UNESCO Chair at the Institute of Technology, Tralee: Transforming the lives of people with disabilities, their families, and communities through physical education, sport recreation and fitness.

The UNESCO Chair was officially launched on 24 February 2015 by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins. The establishment of the UNESCO Chair reflects the long term commitment of the Institute of Technology, Tralee, to the area of social justice particularly as addressed by Article 30 of the Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006) and UNESCO’s International Charter of Physical Education and Sport (1978). The core purpose is to mainstream diversity through physical education, sport, recreation and fitness.

Sport, as a mirror of society, has been proven through history to have the capacity to mobilise change. Benefits of sport extend from an individual to a societal level, across human flourishing, health, gender equality, social integration, social capital, peace building and conflict resolution, economic development, and as a mobilising agent for social change.

In working towards mainstreaming diversity, the UNESCO Chair has designed a brand logo named UniversAbility. The brand suggests Universal Accessibility, recognising this ability as a dynamic and continuous process.

The Chair holds a global monitoring function for dissemination and advisory purposes. The mission centres on changing minds through influencing policy and changing lives through innovative practice and partnerships. The Chair leads a global partnership working in the domains of quality-inclusive physical education, sport, recreation and fitness as part of a broader intersectional human rights agenda. This focuses on the social inclusion of marginalised groups in keeping with the goals of the United Nations and specifically those of UNESCO. The Institute of Technology, Tralee, with the establishment of the UNESCO Chair, is reinforcing and internationalising its commitment to the fields of inclusive practice and universal access. In Ireland, the institute's partner on campus - CARA National Adapted Physical Activity Centre - will continue to provide a lead nationally in facilitating, coordinating and advocating for the inclusion of people with disabilities; while the UNESCO Chair's national and international remit and partnership commitment will work to complement, support and showcase the work of the CARA Centre.

IT Tralee’s UNESCO Chair builds bridges between academia and civic society, policy makers, legislators and society as a whole. The Chair encompasses the institute’s staff and students, its partner network, and is guided by its Chairholder, Dr Florian Kiuppis. Chair activities focus on the CRAFTE strategic components such as communication, research, advocacy, funding, training and education. The Chair has cultivated meaningful partnerships between a variety of key stakeholders, and leads on a flexible planning process which is aimed at bringing policy and practice closer together. The Chair will help to inform policy decisions, establishing new teaching initiatives, generating innovation through research initiatives and actions.

This is a shortened version of a longer article that goes on to describe current projects and initiatives by the Chair and partners.

[This article has been edited by the Operating Team]


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Thursday, August 27, 2015 - 23:00