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Home News 2009 SU Update: FISU Conference Opens in Presence of Minister of Youth and Sport

2009 SU Update: FISU Conference Opens in Presence of Minister of Youth and Sport

World Conferences 2 July 2009


Today, July 2nd, the FISU Conference opened its doors today in the presence of the Serbian Minister of Youth and Sport Mrs. Snezana Samardzic. The Conference takes place at the Sava Center, adjacent to the Continental Hotel, the FISU Family hotel and location of the temporary FISU Headquarters during the Summer Universiade in Belgrade. The Conference, traditionally organized during the first days of the Summer Universiade will take place from July 2nd to 5th and brings together a number of keynote speakers from around the globe to tackle the theme of University Sport in general and a number of topics in particular.

The main theme and subthemes of this year’s Conference are the following:

Main Theme
The role of University sports in education and society – A platform for change

Sub Themes
1. University sports: trends, opportunities and challenges
2. University sports: a foundation for healthy lifestyle
3. University sports: a foundation for fair play and ethical values
4. University sports a foundation for education and academic achievement
5. University sports: a foundation for sustainable universal development

It was FISU President Killian who opened the Conference today as he addressed the audience of university scholars with his opening speech you find below.



Two Sides of the FISU Coin/Two Sides of University Sport

FISU President George Killian opens the Conference‘It is with a great deal of pleasure that I have the opportunity to welcome you here this morning at the Opening Ceremony of the 2009 FISU Conference. It is a honor for me to have the opportunity to speak with you here today on a subject that is near and dear to my heart, “The role of University sports in education and society”.

Before beginning my remarks, I would like to take a minute to give thanks to some very important individuals who have made this Conference become a reality. First, let me introduce Dr. Branko Kovacevic, Rector of the Belgrade University. I had the pleasure and honor of taking part in the “Presidents Summit” some months ago right here in Belgrade that Dr. Kovacevic produced that resulted in an outstanding international educational event. I’d also like to recognize Mr. Dusan Mitic, Dean of the Faculty of Sport and Physical Education here at the University for the role that he and his staff played in organizing this Conference. Thank you again gentlemen.

FISU, as most of you are aware, is a federation that has made its mark in the international sporting world by organising and promoting sporting events featuring university students. Like a coin FISU does have two sides, one side devoted to sporting events, the other side to education and cultural events.

First, the side that promotes sporting events. Every two years, FISU organises both a Winter and Summer Universiade which has now grown to rival the Olympic Games in size. In addition on the years where there are no Universiades, FISU will host some thirty individual sport championships covering a multitude of individual and team sports. The sites for these championships cover the globe.

Today, here in Belgrade, we turn our full attention to the other side of the coin. Some years ago, we had only a small segment of our overall program devoted to educational endeavours.

In the years that I have been involved in university student sport life, I have always said that the graduates of our universities worldwide are and will be the great future leaders of tomorrow. If this be true, what leadership qualities do we expect our students to gain from their participation in our FISU program? Researchers in this area have found the following leadership qualities to be positive attitude, fun, enthusiasm, teamwork, confidence, and sense of fairness, creativity, cooperation and a desire of achievement. When prioritizing these values the results indicated that fun, self-esteem, team work were the leadership qualifications most highly prized by the participants. All of the above are obtainable in our FISU programs and if our students through the efforts of their Rectors worldwide are afforded the opportunity to participate in university sport, not only in there own country, but through the entire FISU program they will be quite easy to obtain.

As you will quickly realize, the two key words of this Conference as I see it are the words, Platform and Foundation. This is really what FISU is all about. These words are matched with one of the main FISU objectives, that of giving university students the right of opportunity. We are offering an opportunity to every university student athlete to meet and compete in a spirit of understanding with the ultimate goal of having the student athletes gain a better understanding of the world in which we all live. FISU with this very solid foundation based within our sport and education program, along with our core values such as respect, tolerance, and understanding is offering this extraordinary opportunity to tomorrows political world leaders to meet in one of the worlds largest university sport programs now in existence. That is why for FISU these two terms of Platform and Foundation are so important, because they are the basis of our movement.

The common aim of all our partners in higher education is to strengthen our foundations in order to continue to build up and to provide a better and more realistic platform as we strongly believe that sport in itself is one of the key factors in achieving this aim.

Let me point out to you that higher educations historic role has been always to provide leadership for and in our society. If we are to continue to support this role and to make it flourish around the globe then it is inevitable that we all work together in a productive way to see that all of our university students, where ever they reside are given the right foundations and the largest platform to catch the opportunities that will lead us to a better world.

In closing let me on behalf of the entire FISU Family wish you great success with this Conference and may all in attendance here today in Belgrade return to your homes and country with a greater regard for the importance of your personal involvement in university sport.’






CESU Chair and FISU 1st Vice-President Claude-Louis Gallien


CESU Chair Claude-Lois Gallien gave his opening speech as well.

‘The role of University sport in education and society is the guiding concept of this academic FISU Conference linked with the 25th Universiade and which can be considered as significant as the Universiade itself.

Education of young people is doubtless the main challenge that our society needs, facing a period of dehumanization when financial powers are only interested in ‘business’, organize worldwide physical and intellectual misery – specially affecting the weaker regions, countries or persons. In fact, business without real education produced those brilliant young barbarians – call them traders – that have been responsible for a terrible financial crash, then an economic disaster, then dramatic social difficulties we now have to deal with.

Sports – and University Sports in particular is game – do not forget game. But it is much more than a game. It is altogether game, education, research, culture and, also, why not, business. For this reason we should be convinced that sports might play a major role in a new higher education system, not devoted to meet only the requirements of instantaneous efficiency, but to bring added values to the human society.

This conference will offer us 12 keynote speakers and more than one hundred oral or poster presentations, providing constructing and provoking strategies to bring ethical sustainable answers to today’s stakes. This conference is a a platform to exchange, it is a platform for change. Read the proceedings book: I believe this document is exceptional and can be considered a milestone in the comprehension of what really means ‘University Sports’, in the present and for the future.

Holding this FISU Conference in the frame of the prestigious Belgrade University is an honor and a privilege. I express my gratitude to the President of Belgrade University, Doctor Branko Kovačevic, to the Chair of the Organizing Committee, Doctor Dušan Mitić, Dean of Faculty of Sport and Physical Education, to all the OC members, and the volunteers, for their efforts in preparing this conference.

We have been working together, with great confidence and pleasure. It has not always been an easy task, due in part to the heavy economic problems resulting from the crash I mentioned a moment ago. But this team here, proved to be good enough to overcome all the difficulties; dear colleagues, dear friends, you can be very proud of what you have been doing here in Belgrade.

I want to express my deepest thanks to Serbia, a major member of the European scientific community, for allowing professors, researchers, coaches and students from all over the world to share their experience and define the bases of an education using sport as an essential tool.’