Across the developing world, the 6th of April this year -‘International Day of Sport for Development and Peace’- was greeted with celebration. In Rwanda it was marked by a government announcement that a film production crew would soon start filming video stories by ‘Football for Hope, Peace and Unity’ an organization aiming to use sport to raise awareness and commemorate the genocides in Africa. Closer to home, in Tonga, it was cause for a mass Aerobics session at the Queen Salote Memorial Hall, supported by the Tongan Health Ministry and the Australian Federal Government.
Whilst we face different challenges here in Australia, we need look no further than our own backyard to see the valuable role that sport plays in developing a sense of community, keeping communities healthy and active, and overcoming social and economic barriers.
I was invited to represent the Minister for Sport the Hon. Stuart Ayres MP at the Sports for Social Change Youth Leaders Forum held at Fairfield Community and Youth Centre. Together with Anne Bunde-Birouste, Founder of Football United, and Mike Brown, Brad McCarrol and Assmaah Helal from Creating Chances, we discussed with a group of young leaders, how sport could help enable the next group of young leaders in their communities. We reflected upon role of sport in social change and peace at both a local and international scale.