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Promoting university sport values with dynamic, emerging leaders 


The FISU Volunteer Leaders Academy (FVLA) is an educational event that serves as a key part of the international sports and volunteering movement. Initially held in the city of Kazan, the inaugural event during the 2017 FISU World University Games in Kazan brought together 110 volunteer leaders from 90 countries to the Russian sports city. The FVLA programme has now switched to an online format since 2020, and is again expected to remain as a virtual event this year.


At the academy, emerging sport management leaders receive an intense programme that includes lectures, roundtable discussions and networking opportunities. Academy attendees are also brought “behind-the-scenes” to many first-class sports facilities used at top-level sports events to develop their knowledge and competence around the management of volunteers in sports events.


The aim of the FISU Volunteer Leaders Academy is to create a volunteering community around the world that could share the best global practices in volunteer projects in all kinds of sports events. In order to do that, all the values of university sport: excellence, teamwork, innovation, joy of sport and integrity.


Alongside the Academy sessions, young leaders are set with a group project that they present to an evaluation panel of sports officials. In recent editions, Academy attendees centred their work on how to further the University Sports movement on their campuses and communities through the International Day of University Sport (IDUS), a FISU initiative endorsed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).


The benefits for Academy participants go beyond the practical, educational and cultural, with the top attendees earning additional elite internship and scholarship opportunities. In 2017, five future leaders were chosen to work with FISU on the important operational legacy project at the Taipei 2017 Summer Universiade.

"For me, the most interesting part of the FVLA this year was the ability to learn, grow and make worldwide connections even through the current circumstances. Learning about how leadership and sports participation can have a large positive impact on individuals and the world was truly an eye opening experience!”

Jacob James Mulholland, New Zealand, FISU Student Ambassador 2020


"What I found really interesting was being able to connect with so many different cultures. And also, learning different strategies from around the world, as to how people are developing university sports."

Kristian D'Amore, Canada, FISU Student Ambassador 2020

"I found great value in the 2020 FVLA, in particular the sessions that delivered on soft skills. The presentations were engaging and provided easily transferable tips to apply to my volunteer and academic work. The FVLA and Student Ambassador programme have given me the impetus to drive change in my university, sport, and country. I'm excited to see what I can achieve in the coming year."

Peter Boyes, United Kingdom, FISU student Ambassador 2020


"I was able to learn and share my own experiences. Being able to understand how these international connections can work, I am very grateful to FISU and CBDU (Confederação Brasileira do Desporto Universitário) for this opportunity."

Vitoria Teixeira Cabral, Brazil, FISU Student Ambassador 2020

FVLA 2017 2020 infographics


Facts & Figures from the FISU Volunteer Leaders Academy

  • The 2021 edition was held online with introductory sessions from 19-20 June and the main sessions from 8 to 10 September 2021.

  • Duration: up to 7 days when organised onsite / 3 days when organised online

  • Scale: an average of 100 participants

  • Reach: over 90 countries

  • Frequency: every year

  • Participants: students (under 25 years old) from all over the world

  • Tradition: held annually since 2017

  • Programme: conferences, workshops, exchange of experience, cultural exchange, group projects and much more

  • Output: After FVLA participants are awarded with the status of the FISU student Ambassadors and become helping hands of their NUSF and CUSF.

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Highlights from previous FISU Volunteer Leaders Academy events