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15 June 2018 | in FISU Volunteer Leaders Academy

Second edition of the FISU Volunteer Leaders Academy kicks off in Kazan

KAZAN — More than 100 emerging young sports leaders from 92 countries helped to kick off the second edition of the FISU Volunteer Leaders Academy in Kazan, known locally as the sports capital of Russia.



FISU President Oleg Matytsin was joined by Alexey Pesoshin, Prime Minister of the Republic of Tatarstan, to officially open the event under sunny skies, with the volunteers in attendance wearing traditional clothing from their homelands. President Matytsin praised the role that first year Academy graduates have already played in sport, including helping to deliver the Taipei 2017 Summer Universiade. He spoke with optimism that the 2018 Academy attendees would carry the legacy of volunteerism to even greater heights.


Presenters and participants gather together after the opening ceremony to the second edition of the FISU Volunteer Leaders Academy

“I believe that many of you will have a fantastic experience here, that you will find new friends, gain new knowledge and be ambassadors for university sport around the globe,” President Matytsin said in his opening address. “At FISU, it is our ambition, it is our goal, to be together to unite people through sport. So celebrate unity, celebrate youth, and be sure that as one team we will always win.”



Olga Golodets, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, could not attend in person but sent a welcome message to all delegates:



“The volunteer movement is actively developing, and the efforts of these volunteers, who now have the experience of participating in all the biggest sports events, have received high praise from the international sports community.”

Presenters and participants gather together after the opening ceremony to the second edition of the FISU Volunteer Leaders Academy


The volunteer movement is strong in Russia, having declared 2018 the year of the volunteer. Since hosting the 2013 Summer Universiade, Kazan has gone on to host numerous elite international sports events, including the FINA World Championships and the FIFA World Cup, with the city hosting its first match tomorrow between France and Australia.



“The Academy gives a platform for all participants to exchange opinions and create new solutions aimed at developing volunteering programmes and projects,” Deputy Prime Minister Golodets added. “I am sure that your time here will help you to promote the mission of university sport in your own country, and to share the values and ideals of sport with your peers.”

The local organising team behind the FISU Volunteer Leaders Academy exudes the attributes of the academy itself: young and emerging sports leaders gaining real skills by putting on an ambitious event


Understanding that education is central to advancing the international sports and volunteer movement, the Academy’s programme was designed to facilitate the sharing of best practices relating to volunteer projects at major international sports events.



World-renowned experts from the IOC, WADA and UNESCO joined President Matytsin, FISU Secretary General Eric Saintrond and the entire Federation’s Executive Committee provided insight into the world of sports management and governance to attendees.

FISU President Oleg Matytsin telling the attendees at the FISU Volunteer Leaders Academy his wishes that each of them will become ambassadors for university sport around the globe


During the morning session, WADA President Sir Craig Reedie gave a video address where he commended the participants’ volunteer work, while also reminiscing about his personal experience. Sir Craig said it was while volunteering at the Scottish badminton federation during his time at university that led him to becoming part of the team that helped get badminton added to the Olympic programme. “You can all imagine the fun I have had getting a sport I love added into the Olympic Games,” he said.



Hall of Fame basketball star Yao Ming also spoke to Academy delegates by video. After retiring, the former No.1 NBA draft pick and eight-time NBA All-Star went on to continue his studies, majoring in Economics and Management. Today, the former star has turned sports leader, as the Chairman of the Chinese Basketball Association, and he reflected on what had made competing as a student-athlete for China at the Beijing 2001 Summer Universiade so special:

Yao Ming in action at the Beijing 2001 Summer Universiade basketball final


“I urge you to practise and to encourage others to do sport with the university spirit,” Yao Ming said. “I hope the FISU Volunteer Leaders Academy will help you to develop your intercultural attitude and your international communication. Good luck.”



The programme includes a shift working at the FIFA World Cup match between Iran and Spain at the Kazan Arena. The eight-day Volunteer Leaders Academy programme continues until 21 June.



By Torin Koos, FISU Media and Communication Manager