Doha, 9 August 2020 - Two FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 legacy programmes – Generation Amazing and Josoor Institute – along with the University Campus of Football Business (UCFB), recently hosted the second webinar in their ‘Inspiring Youth’ series. Discussions centred on how football – and sport in general – can be used as a tool to bring communities and societies together, and bridge cultural divides in challenging times.
The public event was held virtually and attended by representatives of the two Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) programmes, UCFB and other strategic partners.
The webinar featured Dr Fadi Makki, from SC legacy programme B4Development; Paul Rogers, Chief Strategy Officer at Italian football club AS Roma; Eglantina Zingg, Founder of Goleadoras; and Sharona Friedman, Executive Strategic Board Member, UCFB. The speakers shared their experiences in media, education and sport, highlighting the success achieved by programmes such as Generation Amazing, which focuses on promoting inclusion as one of its core values.
Professor Simon Chadwick, Director of Eurasian Sport at EM-Lyon Business School, moderated the discussions on what makes sport, especially football, a powerful and universal platform for social inclusion.
“Sport has so much power to change the world,” said Friedman. “You have an amazing platform to influence what people see. And we have a responsibility on these very public platforms to ensure that they reflect reality.”
Friedman highlighted the FIFA World Cup as one of the most powerful opportunities to showcase the power of diversity.
She added: “Football, in particular, is a global game and the great equaliser. It’s something we can all participate in without language.”
In terms of confronting societal issues, Rogers said: “Sport has a leading role to push the lever. That is the power of football. Football is looked upon to really push an agenda for change on racism and other issues and I am very proud of how the sport is stepping up. I think you have to be brave, and people will come along with you. We have all the same fears, the same worries. We have to be aware of what we do and there’s a need to listen to other people.”
Makki shared his views from a behavioural science perspective, saying: “Football provides a shared platform and experience to dissect challenges and form solutions based on the insights from scientific measures used to measure social impact. We can test what has worked elsewhere, for example, in conflict zones and scale those up. It’s not about what we think works but using scientific methods and behavioural insight to see what actually works. A shared experience allows us to build on the social impact using science, as with what we are doing with Generation Amazing.”
Zingg reflected on how football provides youth alternative outlets for education.
She said: “Social inclusion is that magic component that sport has. Football gives anybody a chance to succeed and to be a champion. When you help kids develop an identity, they become resilient. You instil skills like teamwork, where people come together with common goals and work together for a higher goal.”
Zingg added: “Football is an amazing tool to establish dialogue and enable identities, to fight racism and the issues that divide us. We also need to talk about including both genders. We need to be able to be in a society where we can co-exist.”
The next Generation Amazing, Josoor Institute and UCFB webinar will be organised in due course.