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IOC Young Change-Makers continue to make a difference

2017-11-15 09:08:00 IOC

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) last week welcomed a group of passionate Young Change-Makers (YCMs) to discuss with IOC President Thomas Bach how best to reach young people by inspiring, engaging and empowering them.

Held for the second consecutive year, the Youth Summit brought together 18 YCMs from around the world – each of whom has received seed funding from the IOC to deliver inspiring grassroots projects – to exchange ideas on how the IOC can stay relevant by investing in young people and giving them a voice.

After three days of brainstorming. the group, which represents four continents, 15 countries and includes YCMs from all four editions of the Youth Olympic Games, got the opportunity to enjoy a lively debate with the IOC President on topics such as youth empowerment, social entrepreneurship and esports.

Reflecting on the summit, Josefina Salas (CHI), who sits on the IOC Commission for Public Affairs and Social Development and whose project utilised existing university facilities to give access to sport for underprivileged children in her community said: “Coming to the seminar gave me back a lot of energy and motivation, it also made me value even more the way the IOC listens to our ideas and makes them reality. The YCM+ Programme is something truly unique and for which I am immensely thankful.”

The YCM+ Programme supported by Panasonic is a social entrepreneurship through sport initiative. YCM applicants can submit a project to the IOC, using sport for a better world in their community, and the best projects are allocated a maximum of CHF 5,000 of seed funding. Themes cover Healthy & Active Living, Inclusion, Sustainability, and Peace & Development.

Speaking to the Young Change-Makers, the IOC President said: “I’m often presented with statistics on a screen about youth engagement, but sitting face to face with you all and hearing your thoughts and opinions on the topics that matter to you is one of the best moments of my job. On behalf of the IOC, I want to thank you all for delivering such incredibly inspiring and diverse projects, and I would like to personally invite you all to the Olympism in Action Forum in order to be part of the wider discussion on how to engage and empower young people through sport.”

Following last year’s event, and as a direct result of the open discussion with the IOC President, seven YCMs have been appointed to the IOC commissions.

The Summit, which was opened by IOC Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi, also provided an opportunity for the YCMs to present their community projects while receiving masterclasses from social entrepreneurs and Olympians on topics such as sponsorship and sustainability.

The YCM+ projects for 2017 include the launch of a network of weekly exercise clubs to help combat diabetes in Mauritius, an outreach initiative delivering sports workshops and equipment to schools to promote peace development in Colombia, and a girls mentorship programme in Zambia.

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