Dr. Efstathios Christodoulides, Course Leader in BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science, participated in UNESCO’s seventh International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport – MINEPS VII. He represented the UNESCO Chair on Governance and Social Responsibility in Sport.
MINEPS VII is a global conference that engages governments, athletes, the private sector, and other stakeholders to increase investment in sports, improve sports practices, foster quality physical education, and amplify the positive impact of sports on health, society, and the economy. The conference provided a valuable opportunity for sports ministers and other stakeholders to shape the future of the sport-for-development ecosystem, culminating in the launch of the Fit for Life Alliance.
Fit for Life is UNESCO’s sport-based flagship program designed to accelerate COVID-19 recovery, support inclusive and integrated policy-making, and enhance the well-being of youth worldwide. Powered by a global network of partners, Fit for Life utilizes data-driven sports interventions to address intersecting crises related to physical inactivity, mental health, and inequality.
The main purpose of the Fit for Life Alliance is to harness the power of sports to drive positive social change. This will result in concrete policy actions to increase investments in sports, collect data, and analyze the full impact of sports on inclusive and sustainable societies.
The long-term goal of the UNESCO Chair on Governance and Social Responsibility in Sport aligns with this purpose by promoting an integrated system of research, educational, and training activities. The Chair aims to support and inspire the wider “sport movement” in improving the quality of governance practices and adopting socially responsible approaches for programs and interventions centered around sports.
During his intervention, Dr. Christodoulides welcomed this initiative and stated, “…under the organic position as UNESCO Chair, we are striving to respond to the growing demand for good governance and social responsibility in and through sport. Through sector-focused education and by establishing and maintaining national networks of leading academics and senior officials in sports organizations and governments, the Chair aims to build capacity and facilitate communication between these groups. Recognizing the organic nature of our societies, it is clear that we must capture the social impact of sport and physical activity. We need to adapt in order to evolve. Physical education teachers and primary school teachers play a pivotal role and have a direct impact on future generations as part of delivering high-quality physical education courses. We believe it is crucial to ensure that physical education teachers are knowledgeable and possess a comprehensive understanding of how they can guide individuals to value and take responsibility for engaging in physical activity throughout their lives. That is why, as suggested in the literature, we focus on the process considerations and aspirational outcomes of structured physical education provision, with an emphasis on developing physical literacy. Understanding the concept of physical literacy, promoting it within and beyond the school environment, and becoming role models ourselves for our students are important. How we think, feel, move, and connect with others during movement and physical activity shapes our journey towards physical literacy. We are pleased to work and contribute to Fit for Life activities and the repository of tools that serve this purpose.”