Landmark conference underlines football’s social impact
Kuala Lumpur: The Asian Football Confederation’s Vision and Mission to use football as a force for social development was further strengthened on Wednesday at the conclusion of the AFC Social Responsibility Conference 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The landmark conference, which built on the highly-successful AFC-English Premier League joint conference in Hong Kong last year, brought together some of the world’s leading non-profit organisations to examine the positive impact of football to empower some of the Continent’s most vulnerable communities.
In his opening speech, AFC Social Responsibility Committee Chairman, Ahmed Eid S. Al Harbi said: “Football continues to make a difference in many parts of Asia and the AFC is determined to do more. We are fully committed towards strengthening our partnership with the world’s best organisations to enhance the quality and reach of our programmes.
“Together, I am confident we can fulfil our purpose to serve the people in Asia who need us the most and to create a brighter and better future for tomorrow’s generation through football.”
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The main themes of the conference were centred around the five key strategic pillars outlined in the AFC’s Vision and Mission – children and young people, integrity and education, social inclusion, health and humanitarian relief.
Bringing their expertise to the discussions were some of the AFC’s long-standing and intentionally-renowned partners which include, Coaches Across Continents, Sportradar, United Way Worldwide (Asia Pacific), International Federation of CP Football, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and Rohingya Education Centre (Malaysia).
Brian Suskiewicz, Chief Executive Strategist, Coaches Across Continents said: “Sport, in particular, football, is a unifying force and can bring hope and cultivate lifelong values in the most vulnerable communities in Asia. This Conference has raised not only the diverse programmes and strategies implemented throughout Asia, but also the opportunities to collaborate to deliver stronger programmes."
The conference also provided a platform to review the extensive assistance and positive impact of the AFC Dream Asia Foundation, with a particular focus on its legacy projects in the AFC Village in Tacloban, Philippines, and the rebuilding of the Shree Seti Devi Higher Secondary School, in Sindhupalchowk, Nepal.
Uttam Raj Bhandari, the All Nepal Football Association, Chairman of the Social Responsibility Department, who presented the case study of the ground-breaking school in northern Nepal, said: “The rebuilding of the school is the perfect example of how football and the AFC, through a partnership approach with the local government and the Ministry of Education, can create a transformative effect to uplift the spirits of the entire community.
“The Shree Seti Devi Higher Secondary School is now a source of great pride and joy for the people and children in Sindhupalchowk. It is a vibrant focal point of lifelong football and education programmes and serves as a symbol of the endless possibilities and immense joy that the beautiful game brings to inspire hope in our future generations.”
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