Forum to focus on projects led by young people
European Athletics and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) are teaming up again to develop tomorrow's sport and community leaders by staging a Young Leaders Forum from 25-28 June in conjunction with the 2012 European Athletics Championships in Helsinki.
More than 70 young people between 18 and 26 years old representing the European Athletics' Member Federations have signed up for the Forum, which will also be supported by the Helsinki 2012 Local Organising Committee and will take place mainly at the Kisakallio Sports Institute outside the city.
Building on the success of two previous European Athletics-UNESCO forums in 2006 (Gothenburg) and 2010 (Barcelona), this edition will feature presentations and workshops designed to prepare the participants to deliver projects for the benefit of athletics and their local communities.
The opening session of the Forum will be held at the headquarters of YLE, the Finnish national broadcasting company and host broadcaster for the Championships. The keynote presentation will be given by Mrs Tuija Talvitie, the Executve Director of the Finnish non-governmental organisation Crisis Management Initiative, who will speak on the theme "Sport, Peace and Development".
Among the main programme speakers will be the 2005 world pole vault champion Rens Blom, who in addition to working as a coach and organising athletics events has been leading his own project to develop an elite training centre in the Netherlands.
Other speakers will present project ideas in areas such as athletics in schools, event organisation, health and fitness, disability sport, social integration through sport and sustainability. These presentations will be followed up with workshop discussions on project planning and management.
After the daily working sessions, the participants will be transported from Kisakallio to the city the centre of Helsinki for the evening sessions of the Championships in the Olympic Stadium.
On the evening of Tuesday 26 June the participants will be integrated in the Opening Ceremony of the Championships, carrying the flags of their countries as their teams are introduced.
The participants have prepared for the Forum by creating displays about their own projects or important issues in athletics, which will form an exhibition at Kisakallio that will run throughout the Forum. They will vote to select the best displays and prizes will be awarded by the Championship sponsor Samsung.
After the Forum the participants will be able continue their cooperation and establishing youth-led community projects wherever they are through an innovative online community (www.athleticscommunity.org) created by European Athletics to promote projects and other volunteer work in the sport. The community, which already has more than 1,200 members from across Europe, offers certificates of recognition from European Athletics and UNESCO to members who register the hours they contribute to athletics.
European Athletics and UNESCO signed a partnership agreement in July 2006 and since then have cooperated on a number of promotional, youth and anti-doping projects.
To learn more about the European Athletics Young Leaders Community click here.
To learn more about UNESCO's work in the area of Youth click here or in the area of Sport click here.