In keeping with Olympic Agenda 2020’s commitment to “communicating with the youth”, President Bach met a group of young leaders last Friday to hear their ideas on how the IOC should empower young people.
The group, composed of 11 Young Ambassadors (YAs) who have been involved in the Youth Olympic Games, four representatives from the Lillehammer 2016 Youth Olympic Games, a handful of external young social entrepreneurs and one IOC Member, took part in a three-day summit held in Lausanne designed to give them a platform to present their own social projects, share their thoughts and recommendations with the IOC and help them develop their leadership skills.
The YAs invited to the summit are all young social entrepreneurs who have leveraged sport to make the world a better place thanks to an IOC pilot project which allowed them to apply for up to CHF 5,000 seed-funding to develop and deliver inspiring grass-roots projects in their communities. These projects include supporting a mission of US YOG athletes to travel to Mexico to build a home for a disadvantaged family; using university facilities to offer after-school sports clubs for underprivileged young people in Chile; and bringing the sport of karate to women and the visually impaired in Moldova.
Following a brainstorming session which included a panel of external young social entrepreneurs and IOC Member Danka Bartekova - herself a Young Ambassador for the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games - the group presented their recommendations to the President. These included the suggestion of a gala event to value, recognise and honour young sports leaders, an annual youth forum and the creation of a database of young leaders and their projects to share best practices and promote good initiatives.
After the session, President Bach was invited to pick up his foil and join the group, a number of whom are Olympians themselves, for a sporting-themed “mannequin challenge”, the latest phenomenon in social media.
Pedro Cavazzoni (BRA), who served as a YA at the Innsbruck 2012 Youth Olympic Games, said: “As young leaders delivering positive change through sport in our communities, we are on the ground seeing the impact of sport every day. This summit has provided us with an amazing opportunity to bring together our collective experiences and get our voices heard at the highest level.
“The open dialogue we had with the President was very productive, and we look forward to working with him in the future on the ideas discussed. Above all, we hope we can inspire other young leaders to follow in our footsteps.”
The second phase of the Young Ambassadors+ programme opened in November, and the IOC aims to select up to 20 social projects to support in 2017.