This autumn more than 250 delegates from Laureus Sport for Good projects all over the world came together in Paris to set a sign for equality, social inclusion and against hate and discrimination through sports.
Every two years the international Laureus Sport for Good Foundation with headquarter in London hosts a global summit for delegates from each and every project, the National Laureus Foundations, sponsors, Ambassadors and other affiliates. The 2018 summit took place in Paris, France: From 16th to 18th of October all delegates met to discuss all topics concerning the inclusion of disadvantaged people through sport. Invited by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation Germany,Austria, Sascha Luetkens send me as a representative. Thus, I had the great chance to participate as assistant project manager of the Laureus Sport for Good supported project Körbe für Köln – and I really enjoyed the summit.
The focus was set on the inclusion of disabled people and equality of women and girls in sports and society. During three exciting days, we enjoyed workshops and presentations with and from people who deal with these topics in daily life. Project coordinators, Laureus board members, people concerned, and external experts share their respective knowledge during panel discussions and present new ways of thinking about these issues. During workshops we got the chance to develop common strategies on how to attack inequality and discrimination using sports all alongside good ethics and a common values canon.
The summit was a perfect occasion to network and share knowledge and intercultural exchange on the core topics. This mutual exchange was further promoted by Andy and Anathi, the facilitators of the summit. They constantly motivated us to search for new partners to talk to or they enhanced communication through small games. Thus, we really got to know many different people and their projects, their strategies, targets, and how they are governed within three days. The variety of projects funded by Laureus tackles all sorts of social issues. Getting the opportunity to sit together with dedicated people from all parts of the world and exchanging thoughts on common but also country specific problems was both eye-opening and inspiring. Besides, every Laureus staff member was not only participating the whole course of the summit, but also open for questions and remarks at all times. This is what transparency should look like!
Familiar atmosphere – the Laureus Family
Besides great presentations, workshops and panel discussions there was plenty of time to connect with old friends from the “Laureus family” or to meet new ones. Coffee breaks, sport sessions, dinner or going out for a beer after a long day – there were many ways to meet people and listen to their stories. Many participants also attended a Laureus Global Summit for the first time, so everybody made use of the free time to get to know each other better. Highlights were the sport sessions like rugby or dancing, led by chosen projects and a dinner on a boat, cruising down the Seine.
The facilitators made their contribution to this great atmosphere: Small games and “energizers” to start everyday or in between workshops got everybody moving and created fun moments. But it also got emotional during the summit, e.g. when we did the “Haka”, a traditional dance from the Maori in New Zealand, led by Laureus Academy Chairman and former All-Black Sean Fitzpatrick. The atmosphere during the summit was incredible all over, especially the delegates from South Africa spread a great mood through their constant dancing and singing. They seemed to have no lack of energy even after partying all night.
But that’s also what the summit was about. Having fun, party and get your minds off of the problems you face everyday. Laureus wanted to give all these great, committed people a time-out to really enjoy and celebrate.
Even some of the Laureus ambassadors didn’t want to miss out on this great event and made their way to Paris. Besides Sean Fitzpatrick there were a few other (former) pro athletes. Some of them even participated over the whole course of the summit. Among them were Steve Waugh (Cricket), Mansour Bahrami (Tennis), Daley Thompson (Athletics), Fabian Cancellara (Cycling), Bryan Habana (Rugby), Anna Schaffelhuber (Monoski), Jens Lehmann (Soccer) and Alex Scott (Soccer). Once (or still) the elite of their respective sport, they now use their popularity as a role model to create attention for social inequality and the work the Laureus Sport for Good Foundations and their projects all over the world do. They all perfectly fitted into the familiar atmosphere, actively participated during workshops and other activities, discussed with the participants and posed for pictures.
A great success
The Laureus Sport for Good Global Summit 2018 was a success in many ways. The flawless organization by the Laureus foundation in London, great food and fun activities were just one part of it. What really made the summit unforgettable was meeting all the other people and projects. Some of them had similar stories to your own, some were totally different in the kind and the way they use sports to improve people’s lives. Each and everyone contributed to this special kind of intercultural and high level knowledge exchange.
One thing is for sure: meeting all these people certainly motivated and inspired me for my own (upcoming) work. The reason for that were not only stories of success or models of good practice, though. Stories of failure and challenges in other projects helped identifying with other people just as much. For this experience, and all the wonderful people who created this experience, I am left with nothing but to say THANK YOU! Thank you for three wonderful days and jusqu’à la prochaine fois!
Profile: Max Handke
Max Handke, 23 years old, is a passionate sports person (Basketball). He studies sport science at the German Sport University Cologne. For the last two years, he has been working for the Laureus Sport for Good project “Körbe für Köln e.V. (KfK)”, beginning 2018 as assistant project manager. Apart from his voluntary work, Max realized a one-year-internship with the project being entrustet various tasks and responsibilities. Among them were e.g. organizing and leading regular (participatory) sport courses for disadvantaged kids and young people, network meetings on municipal governance of a sport-oriented youth (social) work, assisting on the “Bambini-League” in Mülheim, Cologne (Award project in 2017 and 2018), carrying out sport-oriented EQualNet social-competency trainings with many asylum seeking people (Award in 2017) and other socially disadvantaged people (and Eventmanagement (e.g. coordinating the NRW Streetballtour 2018 for the KfK in Hürth/Cologne with more than 50 volunteers and more than 500 participants) and much more. Max represented “Körbe für Köln e.V.” at an Erasmus+ Seminar in Grenoble, France and was the project’s delegate at the Laureus Global Summit 2018 in Paris, France.