06Oct10 IWWF at the Beyond Sport Symposium in Chicago

Des Burke-Kennedy & CNN Broadcaster Jim Clancy

Formerly known as GAISF, SportAccord?s mission is to unite, support and promote its Member International Sports Federations and Organisations for the co-ordination and protection of their common aims and interests, communication and co-operation, while at the same time conserving and respecting their autonomy.

SportAccord recently signed a strategic alliance agreement with an organization called Beyond Sport: http://www.beyondsportworld.org This is a global body which promotes, develops and funds the use of sport to create positive social change around the world. They held their second major Symposium last weekend in Chicago, USA. Sponsored in part by United Airlines, they offered one free flight for a representative of the IWWF to attend. IWWF Marketing & Media Chairman Des Burke-Kennedy was asked to participate by IWWF President Kuno Ritschard.

The main aim of Beyond Sport is to provide an opportunity for sports to connect with others who are within and outside our sectors to trigger new partnerships and ideas. The main emphasis is on finding ways to use sport to help resolve global social problems and challenges. Annual awards are made to worthy projects. Many of those in attendance represented Sports Foundations, Youth Partnerships, IOC, Charities, UNESCO, UNICEF, etc. Few business interests were involved.

The high profile Symposium in Chicago was attended by over 700 delegates. Sponsors included UNICEF, Barclays, TIME Warner, United Airlines, PriceWaterhouseCooppers and Heidrick & Struggles. It was hosted by CNN?s Jim Clancy. Speakers included HRH Prince Feisal Al Hussein of Jordan, Senator Bill Bradley, Muhammad Ali?s wife Lonnie and daughter Russlynn, the President?s daughter Auma Obama, Olympic gold medalists Jackie Joyner- Kersee, Michael Johnson, Ian Thorpe, William Scherr, Jeremy Bloom and Donna De Varona. A reception was also hosted by Mayor Richard M Daley who will retire from office shortly.

Case studies were presented where sport has been used by Beyond Sport members to overcome extreme social and political challenges and as a tool for education. The Beyond Sports Awards are made to outstanding cases where sport is used as a primary tool to drive positive social change. The awards include US$15,000 initiative investment, mentoring and technical support valued at US$1.5 million and promotional support from Beyond Sport?s development network. Over 400 entries were received from 115 countries. Details of the winning projects are available at : http:// www.beyondsport.org/the-awards/entries/shortlist.php

From an IWWF viewpoint, being recognized as part of the mainstream of general sports development is important. Many Symposium speakers highlighted the fact that only Music and Sport are capable of overcoming almost all political barriers. Where we have IWWF projects which actively support and pioneer developments which in turn improve society, we should make every effort to recognize these and present them to Beyond Sport to reinforce the image of our sport internationally.