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Beyond Sport, Beyond Expectations

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Posted by Eric Frothingham on 09/12/12

A Symbol for Change

When Nick Keller, founder of Beyond Sport, walked out on stage during the 2012 Beyond Sport Summit to deliver his closing remarks, he carried with him an unmistakable (and virtually-indestructible!) blue One World Futbol. At that moment, we knew something incredible was happening. And, it was happening without us having any advance knowledge.

Holding up the One World Futbol, Keller spoke about our ball and about One World Futbol Project’s support of multiple organizations at the Summit— winners, finalists, panelists, and attendees. He used the One World Futbol as a visual representation of the opportunity for network members to support each other and further the overall cause of sport for positive social change. The power of this moment remains with me and underscores that we are bringing people together to unite behind a common goal and positively impact the lives of youth around the world.

The Summit

From July 23rd through July 25th (the week before the opening of the Olympics), Tim Jahnigen and I attended the 2012 Beyond Sport Summit in London. Beyond Sport is a global organization that promotes, develops and supports the use of sport to create positive social change across the world. The Beyond Sport Summit is one of the most prominent international gatherings of organizations working in and supporting the field of sport for positive social change. This unique, annual event is specifically designed to celebrate, promote and drive forward sport-led social change. Among the many notable presenters this year were former Prime Minister Tony Blair and legendary boxer, philanthropist and social activist, Muhammed Ali.

Not only was it my first time attending this incredible Summit, but it was the first major international event for One World Futbol Project (OWFP) since the announcement of our partnership with Chevrolet (May 2012). The new partnership with Chevrolet gives OWFP a global platform to support organizations that use sport and play as a key component in their development programs around the world, bringing the joy of play to youth in disadvantaged communities so that children can be children no matter where they live.

One World, One Ball — One World Futbol

A main feature of the Beyond Sport Summit is the Beyond Sport Awards, which provide the winners with varying levels of funding, business and strategic support as well as global recognition. It was tremendously gratifying to learn One World Futbol Project had played and continues to play a significant role with winning and finalist organizations on multiple continents.

GOALS Haiti —Winner: Best New Project Award — has incorporated One World Futbols in their programs for more than a year. Since the 2010 earthquake, GOALS Haiti has used sport to mobilize communities in Haiti, empowering young people and adults to organize themselves to develop projects that improve shelter, leadership and infrastructure.

 

A Ganar (Partners of the Americas) — Finalist: Sport for Social Inclusion— has used One World Futbols for more than a year in multiple programs, notably in Bolivia and Mexico, and seeks to use them in more of their programs through Central and South America. A Ganar is a youth employment program using sport as a tool for helping youth learn competitive job skills and find success in the labor market.WASH United — Winner: Sport for Health Award— recently initiated a discussion with One World Futbol Project about how to get One World Futbols for use in their programs in Africa. WASH United is the first initiative worldwide that uses the power of sports to break the last big taboos: defecation, sanitation and hygiene.In addition, dozens of other organizations represented at the conference, including UNHCR (The UN’s refugee agency) and the Special Olympics soccer/football program expressed keen interest in getting One World Futbols for use in their programs.It was inspiring to be part of this Summit, which brings together incredible leaders and inspiring organizations. And, it continues to be a privilege to connect on a personal and professional level and support those who are using sport for positive social change. Together, I hope we can inspire others to help enable more kids around the world to experience the joy of play through the simple power of a durable ball.
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