Round three: A renaissance of changes at all levels

Round three: A renaissance of changes at all levels

Alexis Lyras calls for us to find more creative and effective ways to achieve positive changes, including more partnerships and collaborations.

Embracing as many voices as possible

The foundations of my vision for the sport and development community post-2015 were expressed in my previous response during the second round of the e-debate. As we move from what I like to call “the sfd romance era” of the last decade- into today’s reality and beyond 2015 - we all have to look back and identify personal and institutional potentialities, challenges, strengths and weaknesses. I strongly believe that each agent and agency can have a unique contribution to our field.

The most essential element of the post-2015 era should be centered on creating conditions for embracing as many voices as possible (instead of one) that will:

  • Promote autonomous, empowered and creative communities that think, care and act locally- and globally
  • Facilitate changes within and between agencies (sport and even more significantly, non-sport)
  • Embrace personal and social innovation and creativity
  • Develop more outcome-based collaborations

Creativity and innovation is a non-linear process and most of the creative ideas happen in a non-structured way and of course without investing significant resources- ideas will just remain in minds or on papers. A combination of a balanced top-down and bottom-up approach can create conditions for maximising economic, social and humanitarian profit.

Olympism4Humanity

My vision is fully expressed through Olympism4Humanity, a global venture in collaboration and recently inaugurated with the International Olympic Academy, the Conflict Resolution Program, the Olympic Truce Foundation, and a global consortium of prominent experts from twenty-two agencies across the globe. Olympism4Humanity (O4H) aims to advance human centered alliances, scholarship, educational opportunities and synergies that will facilitate the resolution of existing global challenges.

O4H’s mission is to advance three strategic milestones by coordinating local, regional and global efforts and by serving as a catalyst for:

  • Creating inclusive systems and consortia to support existing sustainable learning hubs
  • Providing ongoing capacity building products and services through Olympic education and sport for peacebuilding and development training, academic programmes and professional development opportunities
  • Establishing relevant applied scholarship

While the emerging “sport for peace and development” global practice is a relatively new concept, its roots lay in the concept of Olympic Truce and the philosophy of the Ancient Olympic Games. Sport, employed in a culturally enriched educational setting aiming to “inspire humanity for the development of a peaceful world,” is what Pierre de Coubertin envisioned for the revival of the modern Olympic Movement.

A renaissance of changes

While a number of scholars, policy makers, practitioners and humanitarian agencies have been more intensively engaging - over the last ten years - in discourses and programming related to global existing challenges and the UN MDGs, “the challenges around us grow faster than the actions each one of us is taking”. Based on the foundation that “we can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them” (Albert Einstein)- we have to acknowledge that no scholar, agency, practitioner or policy maker should feel comfortable that we are “good enough”.

With this in mind, I believe we should all, more drastically try to find more creative and effective ways that will embrace the “renaissance” of changes across institutions, continents and agencies at all levels of our global society, towards our human-centered cause and outcome-based collaborations. This should be the commitment we should all have- in an attempt to scale up impact, outreach and changes in our global community.

While I agree that sport agencies and programmes can have a significant role and contribution to our field, I strongly believe that full potential can be met by engaging non-sport institutions, academic programmes, departments and agencies.

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