The Sport in Black & White Conference and Youth Forum scheduled to take place in Saint Lucia June 10th-23rd is shaping up to be the premier sports event in the Caribbean as a number of International social agencies come onboard.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Alliance for Youth Sports (IAYS), the Department for International Development (DFID), the Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP), the Anti- Discrimination and Social Inclusion Body FARE Network and the Caribbean Sports Development Agency (CSDA) will all present on key elements of work undertaken in the Caribbean.
“By all indications, it does seem that this Conference will be quite successful in terms of its implementation and pronouncement on some of the critical issues on sport in the Caribbean” says CARICOM Secretariat Deputy Programme Manager–John Campbell, The Sports Desk looks forward to being a part of this momentous occasion.
Designated as the 3rd Sport and Global South International Conference, the event will bring together leaders in the fields of sport and youth development to tackle and debate a range of pressing issues for the first time in the Caribbean.
The aim is to create an annual Caribbean forum for change reinforcing youth and sport for development networks in the region, planning ways to increase participation of young people in society through sport, and building structures whereby youth associations, government institutions and sports organisations can be more closely linked.
Organiser, Sacred Sports Foundation is working in partnership with the Saint Lucia Ministry of Youth Development & Sport and The Centre for the Study of Sport and Leisure in Society at the Academy of International Sport, George Mason University, along with a range of local, regional and international stakeholders.
The conference will identify priorities with respect to citizen security and social inclusion, poverty alleviation and reduction of crime and violence through physical activity and sport, governance and anti-discrimination, as well as explore key approaches to youth development.
“The time has come for proven interventions such as sports for human development to take root in our region,” says Timothy Ferdinand, president of the Saint Lucia National Youth Council, who will present a paper at the Conference.
“Young people today are faced with the hiatus of social ills and challenges, and I believe this conference stands as a major example of the required professionalism and sustainability in our approaches to positive engagement and youth development through sport in Saint Lucia.”
Key elements of the gathering include the first ever College Scholarship Trial Showcase, Youth Forum and soccer tournament and Coaching Certification Courses working in collaboration with the St. Lucia Football Association, The National Soccer Coaches Association of America, The Professional Footballers Association and League Managers Association in the UK.
Open exclusively to Caribbean youth from all 33 Islands, youth teams, coaches , sportsmen and women are invited to participate where international college coaches will look to offer sports scholarships. Leading talent evaluators will also gather.
The Sport in Black & White Conference and Youth Forum is a response to challenges faced by Caribbean youth. The region has a high incidence of youth crime, youth unemployment and teenage pregnancy among a range of social challenges. Conference organizer Sacred Sports Foundation, signed an MOU with RISE Global in 2012 and successfully utilises sport and physical activity as a social development tool working closely with a number of disadvantaged Caribbean youth and highly vulnerable adolescents. In April 2013, the foundation also received approval for partial funding from the Australian High Commission’s Direct Aid Programme for Learn, Work & Lead – A youth employment training and social development programme in Saint Lucia.