JOA, UNESCO team up for social change, scientific research


JOA, UNESCO team up for social change, scientific research

Monday, September 30, 2019

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Given its impact and influence, sport has often been channelled as one of society's foremost vehicles for change.

Influences of human athletic prowess will again be utilised in this regard by virtue of a memorandum of understanding signed by sports' parent body in this country, the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), and global ambassadors, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

The worldwide body is using sports as a conduit, given their recognition of sports as a key contributor to the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda.

The project's main focal points, as explained by Ryan Foster, secretary general and chief executive officer of the JOA, encompasses a campaign for social inclusion and gender equality; increased attention on youth; and research on sport as an agent for social change.

“Research findings will then be applied at both the local and regional level given the fact that Jamaica is viewed as a leader among Caribbean nations,” Foster noted, during the recent signing of the MOU at Olympic Manor, the sporting body's headquarters in Kingston.

He further shared the blueprint's action items.

“There are presently two expected deliverables in the initial stage of this framework; one being the local production and presentation of films during a local festival; as well as the international level at the 2020 FICTS Festival held annually in Italy. The second is the execution of a regional workshop aimed at promoting the use of Olympic values and education programme and sport as a vehicle for sustainable development in the Caribbean, from which participants are expected to launch and develop across the region,” explained Foster.

JOA boss Christopher Samuda further expounded on this significant relationship with the powerful and far-reaching UN body.

He said: “Sport is cultural and sport unites nations of this world. We welcome this partnership with UNESCO for social and community development, we welcome this partnership as sport is being used as a value proposition and we welcome this partnership as sport now becomes the context and text for bilateral cooperation in achieving multiple life-changing goals and outcomes.”

Samuda said the coalition “will not only educate, but enlighten, for the Olympic flame kindles the light of humanity, sparks the intellect and emboldens reason.

“Together we will bring rigour to science in measuring development and performance in the crucible of excellence and together we will marry science with the quintessential art of life lifting communities in creating a culture that not only is an expression of the best of a people, but which inspires their aspirations.

“I'm very pleased that we've finally inked this partnership, for the JOA looks beyond the boundary of sport in challenging human ability and capacity to achieve the utmost. We look beyond the baseline of sport in building capacity for legacy creation and sustainability. We believe that we must look beyond the goalpost without moving it in giving a distinct advantage to those fortunate, those less fortunate and those challenged,” Samuda, an attorney-at-law, expressed.

Continuing, he said: “We look beyond the finish line of sport for competitive sport is but a shelf life and should be a precursor to a meaningful career in the life of a citizen thereafter.

“So for us, social investment in people is an ongoing marathon during which life skills are taught and learnt, economic opportunities are created in giving birth to meaningful livelihoods, man's humanity to man becomes the creed of mankind and principles and values become the raison d'etre of thought and action.

“With this marathon we're about to begin, there's no finish line, no destination, but rather there's a sense, a sense of destiny that with each continuous step we make the future for successive generations will be secured,” Samuda affirmed.

Gisselle Burbano, UNESCO Cluster Office, Caribbean, noted the work that went into forging this partnership and was especially happy to have sealed the deal with the JOA because of the regional respect the country commands.

“I must say that I feel extremely inspired and motivated and definitely I want to see that which Mr Samuda so wisely described and mentioned because we believe that without partnerships, without the work that different stakeholders can do, we will never be able to maximise the power of sport,” said Burbano.

“Actually, the sort of credo that we have at UNESCO, we being the leading agency of the United Nations with the capacity and the tools to develop meaningfully and strategically, partnerships that will allow sports, physical education, physical activity, to reach out to societies and to use its power to really allow for the development of societies to enable us to play a critical role,” Burbano added.

“As some of you may know, sports has been acknowledged as an enabler of reaching the sustainable development goals which are part of the 2030 Agenda for development.”

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