Friday, March 31, 2017

Sports diplomacy issues (1): No history! Dr. Gilles Klein, 31 March 2017

Sports diplomacy issues (1): No history!
Dr. Gilles Klein, 31 March 2017


Africa is a continent which is at the centre of our daily lives. Tourists remember its polish: photos of safaris, animals coming to drink at watering holes, sunsets, the summit of Kilimanjaro. These tourists experience difficulties in reading the Africa beneath the polish. The Ol Doinyo Oibor glaciers could disappear before 2030. More prosaically, in our daily life, we have adopted the coffee that grows wild in Ethiopia. We use cobalt from the Democratic Republic of Congo to operate our mobile phones and tablets. Some of us whistle, others love jazz and the sounds coming from Africa.


The more humanistic have taken from Africa a philosophy, that of Ubuntu. A word used by Nelson Mandela to symbolize the reconciliation process following apartheid. The word conveys the idea of a shared humanity: “I am, because we are all”. The new world Encyclopedia defines it thus: “It involves an appreciation of the traditional beliefs and the awareness that the actions of an individual have their roots in the past and will have important consequences in the future. A person who exercises Ubuntu understands where he or her is in the universe and consequently, he/she is able to interact harmoniously with other individuals.


Missions often take us to Africa to try to promote youth sport. In order to be prepared, we apply the Ubuntu principle, to understand the past in order to help to build the future. For me, this work became a passion, starting with the hard work of understanding Africa: uncertainties of the colonial era, times of independence, single party states, the Françafrique vicissitudes, more generally of the neo-colonization, for example with China, the conquest of African Unity, the intriguing longevity of the presidents and the chaotic adventures of the democracy, etc.


To be prepared assumes also having knowledge of the member states of our intergovernmental organization. Learning about the Congo river before noting its width in Kinshasa, its power in Inga, its impact on the ocean. Knowing the effects of drought on the annual cotton production in Mali and the economies of the countries during a meeting with the minister of agriculture. Remembering Vénuste Nyongabo’s Olympic feat whilst discussing youth and sport with the minister of Burundi.  Experiencing the traditions with a Royal Python round my neck in Ouidah in Benin. Considering solutions to young graduates’ unemployment with the Moroccan minister of sports.


But ubuntu is far from being something shared by all. In 2012, I remember a mission in a member state in Central Africa. A press conference was organized with the Presidency of the Republic, so we could present our project. The financing of it was based on the sanitation and electrification of the capital city. During the presentation, I mentioned the role of the successive presidents who built and created the capital.

No history

The President’s communication adviser interrupted the exchange with the press thus: “here we do not talk about past presidents. What matters is what the current president is doing”. The conviction and self-assurance of the remark and some sharp practice from the interlocutor had shaken the attempts of the white man who desperately tried to be “unbounded”. Go to hell Ubuntu, here there is no history, no memory. Here, only the providential man of the moment is important, without whom the country might slip into chaos. Was this an accident of history? There would no future for this political vision. Two months later, the country sank into chaos, due to interethnic conflict.


This incident shows that Ubuntu should not divert us from a certain pragmatism in the relations with our member states. Quite often, the reality confirms the words of the communications adviser of that Central African country. The politics of the country can be summarized by the mandates of the current president. On this matter, the commentators familiar with African news do not mince their words. Béchir Ben Yahmed, of Jeune Afrique, diagnoses an African disease.


To his mind, two kinds of politicians are responsible. Those who are already in power and maintaining it at all costs. Those who are looking forward to replacing them, but are indulging in “delicacies and poison of election rigging”. Fortunately, Africa is changing, with more and more political leaders respecting the Constitution and undermining their mandate with no fear of a change in power. In these countries, the elections respect the planned agenda, the candidates accept the result of the vote, observers validate the vote, power changes allow the renewal of the political, diplomatic, economic and social projects.


Between ubuntu and the African disease, our modest organization attempts to promote and finance youth sport in its member states. A matter which is not, and one can easily understand it, a priority in the developing countries. Why promote sport when the main concerns and emergencies are cross-border and ethnic conflicts, wars, arid zones, hunger, agricultural development, more generally economic ones, governance issues, etc. That is why, we need to demonstrate a certain diplomacy, or rather two kinds of diplomacies. The first is common sense, as taught by the communication adviser previously mentioned, the second is political.


As the term is commonly understood, diplomacy is firstly the skill, and the tact, that a negotiator brings into the conduct of a specific affair. Admittedly, it requires the ability to convince a minister of sports of the need to promote youth sport. A minister who we know is primarily focused on the qualifying of the soccer team to the African cup of Nations. The reader will refer to our previous article “Break the shop window”. In our mission, we totally agree with the definition which Siegfried provided about a Latin, in “L’âme des peoples” (the soul of peoples): “subtle and skilful, prudent, economical and rough merchant, he succeeds better in the small businesses, though he is also able to succeed in the large ones: everywhere flexibility, diplomacy, even intrigue, he is in his element”.


To fulfill our mission of convincing the ministers of the developing countries, we prefer the second diplomacy strand: the branch of politics that concerns relations between states, the art of a government or an organization’s representation abroad or the administration of international affairs, the management and implementation of the international affairs between states and between organizations. Our organization as a part of this perspective assumes that their executive bodies explicitly define the kind of diplomacy they want to follow. To conclude this episode, we will define what we understand as sports diplomacy.

Sports diplomacy

The rise of sports interstate competitions, their media coverage, but also the importance of “soft power” in diplomacy, leads the countries to use sport in their international influence strategies. In that case, we refer to sports diplomacy, understood as every use of sport by a country in conducting its foreign policy. This use can take several forms; organization of sports events, sports successes, sports meeting activating a reconciliation in contrast to an opposition, etc. The literature proposes many case studies, to which our readers are referred.


When a state, an organization attempts to define sports diplomacy, two main questions arise for their decision-makers, either minister of foreign affairs, ministers of sports of a state, Secretary-General of an intergovernmental organization. The first question can be expressed thus; among the processes of sports diplomacy used by the states, the organizations, which are the right ones for a specific institution. In the coming episodes, we will develop two categories and a diversity of strategies referred to in national sports diplomacies at a given time.


There is a second question: to what extent the state or the organization, receiving the dividends of sports diplomacy strategy, planned these spin-offs. In the blog, we do not have the necessary time to address planning and success rates of an appropriate strategy. Otherwise, if our young organization had already defined its sports diplomacy model, only the concrete results from our model will guarantee our sustainability or demonstrate our failure.

Next: 7 April 2017 – Sport diplomacy issues (2): The limits of the intuition.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Which professionals for sport (2)?: The case of developing countrie

Which professionals for sports (2)?: The case of developing countries

Dr. Gilles Klein, 24 March 2017


In September 2007, I was on a mission in Benin, notably to meet the Minister of Youth and Sports and to negotiate the membership of that West African country to our intergovernmental organization. Naturally, we talked about the lack of sports infrastructures, whether for youth or for the elite. The principle of building sports centers by the World Sports Alliance seduced a lot, even if it was not without intrigue. The Director of the national institute of sports showed us schools, in Porto Novo and also in the surrounding countryside. We could measure the staff’s expectations, and naturally those of the young people toward those announcing the building of the facilities.

On the sand

In an Ajara secondary school, I remember this 15 years old, who, barefoot, jumped 1 meter 85 centimeters using a “coastal style” landing on the sand. It took me back to my high jump learning, referred to in the previous blog episode. Oh! If he had a synthetic reception pit, or simply a tarpaulin, he could become the champion of his country. Then, I remembered the creativity of my old teacher, who thanks to a simple piece of tissue allowed us to invent our own techniques. Unfortunately, none of us had the physical capabilities of this young Beninese.


More than sports diplomacy, teaching was the main reason for my presence in Benin. The national institute of sports and physical education created its first masters in sports sciences. Canadian, Belgian and French teachers were invited to give physiology, psychology, sociology or history lessons applied to sport. The conferences of French-speaking ministers of education and higher education (CONFEMEN) and youth and sports (CONFEJES), associated to the « Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie” (OIF) provided budgets for students and teachers. Alassane, Bangoura, Moussa and Lahamiss came from Mali, Brigitte and Patrice from Benin.


I had a divided opinion on the nature of degrees needed in the sports education area in Africa, to teach, coach, maintain or manage. I guessed about the implementation of masters in sports sciences in Africa. Most of the African students preparing for sports jobs were taught at the Bachelor level. To my mind, this level was sufficient for obtaining a diploma of sports instructor. By contrast, I found lots of interest in the creation of the Bachelor-Master-PhD pathway in sports sciences in Africa.


On this continent or elsewhere, regarding careers in education, a Bachelors degree is not of a sufficient level to educate young people to build healthy, active and civic lifestyles, living a range of bodily experiences in a diversity of physical and sports activities. More generally, masters and PhDs were needed to train the staff of national sports systems in Africa. Bachelor, Master, Ph.D.? What is called, in Europe, the Bologna process, aimed to reform higher education in European countries to help it to become more attractive compared to the United States. The initiative was showing at least two points of interest: universities’ alignment on the architecture of studies in three cycles (3, 5 and 8 years); the teachers and students’ mobility. Interests that warranted the association with African universities.


The reform and its extension to the African universities also generated doubts. As early as 2003, the influence of the Bologna architecture crossed the European borders to concern other regions of the world. It also reached the African universities that needed to implement major reforms. The Bologna objectives were promoted as explicit objectives of cooperation established with the third countries, notably the African ones. If in Europe the reform generated lasting controversies, most of the African countries took measures to adopt it or switch quickly to a phase of implementation.


Was this pure coincidence or a climbing of agendas? In Benin, after my lessons, I finished writing the chapter related to the tools needed to reduce the gap between the demands of the European market of sports work and the training offers, which is to be published in the collective book mentioned in the previous episode. Another chapter of this collective book did not miss hitting the decision of the Higher education African ministers.


In their chapter, dedicated to « Higher Education and Employability in Sport », my colleagues Jean Camy and Alberto Madella looked at the numbers on the relationship between European students and the annual flow of available sports jobs. At the Bachelor, Master and Ph.D. levels: 75.000 graduates against 30.000 jobs. Post-secondary level: 115.000 against 100.000 jobs, thus the ratio was number was not adapted. Lower-secondary level: 150.000 graduates against 70.000 jobs, the graduates were in surplus.


From this European perspective in respect of employability, let us remember: A high level of training is not the best way to gain access to sports employment. The imbalance between the flow of students and the number of jobs, particularly for the Bachelor, Master and Ph.D. levels, corresponding to university, leads to a serious risk of the de-skilling of graduates and demonstrates the diploma maladjustment.


In Africa, to create a Bachelor-Master-PhD course in sports sciences was perhaps then not appropriate. I already pointed out this risk in the third article of this blog: Sport and the floating coffins of the Mediterranean: what jobs for the unemployed graduates of Africa? In Africa, more than in Europe, the phenomenon of unemployment and under-employment of graduates poses the problem of the inadequacy between supply and demand, between the training proposed by the universities and the needs of the job market. In 2014, Dramane Haïdara confirmed the risk, calling on the African governments to tackle, without delay, the priority work area of education to professionalize higher education and orient the students to technical training preparing them less for a salaried career than for entrepreneurial activities.


Such as Dramane Haïdara, the conference of the French-speaking ministers of sports (CONFEJES) adopts a realistic strategy. The conference does not just support lengthy studies in the African institutes of youth and sports. It also encourages the development of technical and shorter streams. The approach is explained in the “Advocacy related to the supply of qualifying short term training in the national institutes of youth and sports”. Three context elements are considered mainly within the African area: the diversification of jobs in the Youth, sports and leisure sectors, the need to recognize the jobs of the informal sector, the ministers’ will to struggle against young people’s poverty in compliance with the MDGs.


The reasoning is exposed thus: “it appears to us very useful to take advantage from the development of short-term training supply that would be addressed to new young customers looking for jobs and would lead to jobs learning. Thanks to original, qualifying, short and well-targeted training, the training institute could open its doors to customers who are usually excluded: young people with low or no formal schooling, as well as former athletes”.


Long training, short training, the CONFEJES have done a lot of work for mid-level training. I think about the books dedicated to the professions of youth, sports, and leisure. I think also of the fact sheets describing precisely the objectives and activities of the professions which are related to the leisure, youth, and sports areas.


Let us mention some examples in the youth area: physical activities instructor; sports instructor, electronic games instructor, socio-cultural instructor; shows promoter; beach attendant; group tour guide; receptionist; welcome agent.


Let us mention some examples in the sports area: sports instructor; fitness instructor, sports coach; sports events promoter; competition officer; lifeguard; stadium steward or sports mediator; bodyguard; sports equipment manufacturer; maintenance agent.


On 27th March 2008, in Nouakchott – Mauritania, in the framework of the meeting of the CONFEJES Bureau, we signed a cooperation convention with this IGO. I would like to greet here, H.E. Mr. Youssouf Fall and the then Director for Youth, now become in turn Secretary-General H.E. Mr. Ali Harouna Bourama. Beyond this convention, both gave us the first chance in the French-speaking world, particularly in Africa. To tell the truth, only the implementation of this signed convention will be the label of a clear recognition of their support. Soon, we will dedicate an article to all these people, who often in the shadows, helped us to build this intergovernmental organization. It is thanks to these women and men, in the shadows or the light, that we were able to build an original sports diplomacy.

Next: 31 March 2017 – Sport diplomacy issues (1): No history!.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Which professionals for sport (1)?: For a common platform.

Which professionals for sport (1)?: For a common platform.
Dr. Gilles Klein, 17 March 2017


Last week, concerning youth lifestyles, I mentioned the importance of the professionals’ role. The sportsperson's motivation is often formed during a physical education class, at primary or secondary school. I remember a physical education teacher who wrote in his logbook: “Dupont de Nemours invented the Fosbury style”. He suggested then that industrial technology, in that case, polyurethane foam, shapes the development of sports techniques. It was the case for the high jump. It was also the case for the pole vault: bamboo, then metal, then fiberglass.


A couple of years before, this physical education teacher taught us the high jump. Back in the early 1960s, it was a big class in a gym created within a 17th-century building. There was no sand landing pit. All the pupils held a tarpaulin to allow a supple landing and protect the jumpers. Everyone left his position to take his jump in turn and then come back to soften the next person's landing.  Valeriy Brumel was our model who, age 18, won the silver medal at the Rome Olympic Games in 1960, before becoming the Olympic champion in Tokyo four years later. He jumped using a “ventral style”. Landing on sand was quite harsh. Landing on the tarpaulin held by our comrades allowed us to test out any innovation, even trying the “dorsal style”. We were Brumel without pain. We were Fosbury before Fosbury.


The athletes’ performance depends on his/her talent, his/her ability to train, to endure effort. His/her initial motivation owes much to the physical activity professional or volunteer who provides him/her with good advice at the right moment, who gives him/her the desire to come to training again next week, to the staff member who reassures him/her and contributes to the socialization process. What exactly are we talking about when we discuss professionalization or volunteering in sport? In the 2000s, our European study [1] thoroughly investigated the issue. We differentiated between sports professions and sports-related professions.

Sports professions

Sports professional means a person who does physical activity in return for remuneration or who directly supervises this activity. Five types of professions are identified. Professional sports people/athletes: as mentioned, 50,000 in a limited number of sports, depending on the sporting events. Sports officials: 1,000 referees, judges, timekeepers supervise the conduct of sports competitions. Sports activity leaders: 100,000 use sport as a means of getting to specific population groups (elderly people, disabled, young people, etc.). Sports instructors: 450,000 who teach one or more specific sports activities to groups who learn from scratch or wish to develop their abilities. Sports coaches; 150,000 responsible for systematic performance in a given sport.

Sports related professions

Now we come to the related professions. The European observatory of sports employment provides a list. Their characteristics: high level of competence. High level of institutionalization: for example, professional syndicates, specific training, etc. Nine main functions are listed: managers; sports physicians; physical education teachers; journalists and other communication specialists; physiotherapists; agents or promoters of events or sportspeople; sellers of sports goods, sports facilities’ caretakers or maintenance workers.


These professions become more and more specialized. For example, coaches: specialization for competition with physical and mental trainers or for beginners and non-competing players. The work organization varies across the countries. For instance, three categories. Managers: high rate in the UK, 21.3% compared to 5.6% in Portugal. Coaches: 52.2% in Belgium compared to 11.6% in Finland. Reception and maintenance staff: high rate in Finland.


However, let us go back to what is essential to my mind. To whom are we referring when mentioning the relationship between a physical activity specialist and a young person. What are the professions which are essential for education and training of a young sportsman/woman? The quality of this relation is based on about fifteen professions distributed across four professional areas of the sports industry.


It’s obvious. A medal at the Olympic Games owes much to the relationship between the athlete and his/her coach. This professional qualification divides into two sectors: participation and competition. The profession of sports oriented participation coach subdivides itself into two functions: Coach for the beginners. Coach for the participants. The profession of coach for the performance-oriented athletes also subdivides itself into two functions. Coach for talented athletes. Coach for full-time high-performance athletes. Each of these jobs – or roles – subdivides into four levels of competencies. Apprentice-coach; coach, senior coach, head coach.

Physical education

Since the beginning of the 20th century, the physical education teacher is the most traditional sports-related job. The physical education teacher holds three teacher’s roles. To teach a curriculum which includes a diversity of physical activities. To teach and promote health education and active, sporty and civic lifestyles. To teach and run school sport. There are several possible specializations of the job. For example, secondary school specialist teacher or generalist teaching several subject matters. But also: adviser, supervisor, one in charge of school sports, inspector, program designer, the one responsible for physical education policy.


Worldwide sport is based on volunteering. Volunteers manage the clubs’ finances, seek to recruit new licensees, contribute to the life in the federations. These are tasks that must be supervised by professionals. Four professions are essential for now and the future as well: local sports manager or sports director in a municipality; manager or president of an amateur or professional sports club; manager or president of a national federation; manager or director of a health and fitness facility.

Health and fitness

Physical inactivity is the cause of 6% of worldwide mortality. Health and fitness are a matter of lifelong learning. This sports industry’s area subdivides into two sectors and four professions. The area of Health-Related Exercise to maximize health, prevent and/or treat disease under medical supervision includes two professions: the Health-Related Exercise Instructor/Specialist. Two. The Public Health Promoter. The area of Fitness to enhance individual fitness levels and wellness, and to prevent disease in the healthy and adult population defines two professions: the Advanced Gym Instructor / Personal Trainer. Two. The Health and Fitness Manager

Global Coaching initiative

I mentioned it in the article dedicated to technologies applied to physical activity. Following Bill Gates, we shall consider that an important part of education and training in coaching, physical education, health and fitness and management will become digital. The relation between an adult and a young person won't disappear. Despite communication that became fragile, ephemeral and versatile due to social networks, the relation between teacher and student will remain an indispensable link for motivation in sport. But the numeric tools will increasingly assist the relation. That is why our intergovernmental organization conceived a platform and an app that will allow physical activity professionals, notably the fifteen mentioned professions, but also the general public, to exchange advice, courses, coaching plans, nutrition programs and other kinds of products.


In Africa, mobile phones became an unavoidable solution for phoning and accessing the Internet due to worn out land lines and difficulty in having access to computers. Our platform and its apps shall not focus on an exclusive occidental audience, neither forgetting the specific situation of the African professionals of physical activity and sport. In the article “The floating coffins of the Mediterranean” I highlighted the need to develop sports in the developing countries (DC), as a means to keep in the countries young people who are able to find jobs in that sector. To do that, the platform and its apps shall be adapted to the professions on the African agenda. That is why, in the second episode, we will address the sports professions and related professions in DCs and the great work done by the Conference of the French-speaking Ministers of sport (CONFEJES).

[1] Petry K.; Froberg K.; Madella A.; Tokarski W.; 2008, Higher Education Education in Sport in Europe, From Labour Market Demand to Training Supply, Maidenhead, Meyer & Meyer Sport (UK) Ltd.

Next: 24 March 2017 – Which professionals for sports (2)? : The case of developing countries.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Youth Lifestyles: All Is Not Lost!

Youth Lifestyles: All Is Not Lost!

Dr. Gilles Klein, 10 March 2017


A few weeks ago, this blog began thus: “Sport – In brief. Around 770 B.C., in Olympia, the Greeks laid its foundations”. Some foundations, though interesting, remain often unknown. Let us remember two of them: migration and diet. Why migration? The first Games were attracting numerous panhellenic people, comprised of athletes and spectators. From Greece and its colonies – Italy, Northern Africa and Asia Minor – people moved to participate or attend the Games, driven by a shared sense: their belonging to a shared culture and a shared religion. Why diet? One month before, the athletes arrived at the stadium and alternated training with meetings. The competitors all followed a specific diet, made up of barley, mash of wheat, nuts, dried figs and cheese; Migration, Diet, and now.


That was in olden times, the symbol of the Pan-Hellenic exchanges, but the migration and diet issues still exist in the Greece of today. The country has become a symbol of globalization and consumerism. However, these issues have been taking a dramatic turn. Greece is the reflection of the incessant play between our local reality and the challenges arising at the global level.


Local. After being asphyxiated by debt, the Greek people are asphyxiated by the migrant crisis. There is no more local. Global. The populations are still transiting through Anatolia or Asia Minor. This time, they are suffering populations fleeing countries at war. We are looking at a summary of the major worldwide problems: economic liberalization, migration phenomenon, etc. There is no more global. The migration issue related to sports is no less dramatic. I outlined some challenges in the fourth article of this blog. Today, I will focus on the lifestyles issues, between daily realities and global challenges.


How does this question arise today in Greece? Local. At school, during a medical examination at the start of the year, a Greek child passes a test to measure his excess weight or degree of obesity and thus his subsequent cardiovascular risks. Global. This medical procedure provides a summary of the childhood and youth health situation around the World. European crisis? Certainly. 44% of young Greeks are overweight. 33% of young Italians. 25% of young Spanish. Compared to only 17% of young Swedes. But also a worldwide crisis. 29% in Mexico. 30% in the United States.


Local. In terms of lifestyles issues, the creation of a MacDonalds’ restaurant in San Bernardino – California, in 1940 managed to overcome a local tradition: the spreading in every Greek family, day after day, for several centuries, of the Cretan diet. Global. In Greece and elsewhere, American consumerism, the excess of fat and sugars, the obesity risks, prevailed over the abundant consumption of fruits and vegetables, cereals and olive oil, ancestral prevention tools against cardiovascular diseases. In Greece, MacDo finally overpowered the diet of the Olympian competitors.


Local. Those who are interested in lifestyles know it. Physical activity is a tremendous opportunity to burn excess fat. This habit always starts in a stadium, during a physical education class, a gym, stemming from the club’s directing committee. Global. The adoption of a daily or weekly physical activity varies between countries and cultures.  In Europe, 42%   of the entire population never engages in physical activity. 78% in Bulgaria. 59% in Greece.  Compared to 9% in Sweden, 14% in Denmark and 15% in Finland.


Local. In an amphitheater, a specialist in sports sciences insists on the health benefits of regular physical activity. In the fitness clubs, every instructor transmits (or should transmit) the necessary knowledge and know-how to maintain health. Global. 44% of Greek children are overweight. 59% of Greek adults never engage in physical activity. The connection between European maps of physical activity and excess weight confirms the need for health-focused physical activity.


In the 1950s, those of my generation were accustomed to daily physical activity. There were the domestic tasks: walk kilometers to get to school, run to fetch bread, etc. There was the discovery of sport and outdoor activities, walking or running in the forest. More generally, for myself, sport has always been the opportunity, not only to be happy to be moving but also to leave the parent’s home and share moments of conviviality with friends. It is a generational issue. Let us look at young people’s lifestyles nowadays.


The survey “The Global Survey on Sustainable Lifestyles”, led in 2010, had already alerted us about young people’s lifestyles. It already showed young people who were mainly focused on sedentary home activities. “The young study participants live in very different countries and contexts, but they often describe their life and activities at home in very similar terms. If they think first about leisure activities, these are clearly focused on activities that involve appliances based on energy consumption”. Not their own energy, but the electrical energy.


“Those appliances have become omnipresent in everyday life, at work but also at home, central in performing work, functioning in society, in managing one’s interiors and private life. Leisure and communications (computer, Internet, TV, mobile phone, radio) are the first set of activities they mention and what seems to take most of their time at home. The hegemony of computers, used either for work or leisure, as well as online communications, has become unquestionable for participants from all countries”.


“Television is however far from being overtaken. Participants are heavily exposed to mass media, online or on television. These are the main channels to be used to reach them. In addition, the Internet has clearly become a very important channel of communication” (chat rooms, emails, Skype, social networks such as Twitter or Facebook, etc.).


“Other activities such as reading books, gardening, sports or even socializing are mentioned but more unevenly. Interestingly, most heavily used appliances or main activities – such as using a computer – are not always participants’ favorite ones. This is a lifestyle issue of high importance that questions what is done out of habit and what is really done by choice”.


The global survey shows also that young people have a high need for cooperative and non-intrusive initiatives at the local level, and generate voluntary but collective dynamics. Young people reveal a strong potential for participation and commitment.


“In most countries, a big majority of participants are or have been part of an association in the last 12 months. They represent more than 80% of participants in Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, and South Africa. The fewest often involved in such activities or organizations are in Brazil, Egypt, Japan, and India”. “The organizations in which they are mostly involved are youth and sport, peace and humanitarian, as well as religious organizations. On average, 18.8% say they participate or have participated in environmental or sustainable development organizations”. At the question, “are you a member, or have you participated in a”, young people responded thus:



Combined with their aspirations for more local integration and socialization, this demonstrates the potential for young people’s involvement in community projects or local democracy and management. That is why it is important to offer more opportunities adapted to their daily lives in order to contribute to positive and sustainable lifestyles.

It is not lost!

More and more sedentary lifestyles, but still an appetite for social life, notably through sport. The major question becomes: how to convince the young to adopt healthy, active and civic lifestyles in order to fight against sedentariness and chronic diseases? In a given country, the answer depends on cultural factors but mainly political ones. In Sweden, in Finland, a proactive policy to create leisure areas, to connect health and physical activity, in neighborhoods and villages, in schools, in clubs, in gyms. Regardless of the national sports policies, in the developed or developing countries, everything starts on the field. The role of the physical activity professionals is essential for acquiring these lifestyles.

Next: 17 March 2017 – Which professionals for sport?: For a common platform.