Sporting Greats come to St Andrews as Sport at the Service of Humanity Foundation announces ISPS Handa as first Global Patron

By in Governance, Health & Fitness, Marketing, People & Places

Tuesday 28th November 2017

ISPS Handa commits to Sport at the Service of Humanity (SSH) global Youth Mentoring Program

Today, some of the globe’s all-time sporting icons visited the University of St Andrews to show the power of sport to make a difference in the world.

Sean Fitzpatrick, former All Blacks captain and World Cup winner, Francois Pienaar, South Africa’s Rugby World Cup winner, and French football great and World Cup Winner, Lilian Thuram were among those to welcome ISPS Handa as the first global Patron of SSH.

At a special launch event, an audience of St Andrews students heard from some of the athletes, as well as Bishop Paul Tighe, Secretary of the Vatican’s PCC, and founding members of SSH, who outlined the principles shared by sport and faiths, working together for the betterment of the world.

The Sport at the Service of Humanity Foundation was created to grow the movement which arose from a 2016 Vatican conference promoting the benefits of sport in enriching people’s lives.

At the event today, Bishop Paul Tighe, Secretary of the Vatican Pontifical Council for Culture (PCC) spoke about these benefits: “The Vatican PCC, in conjunction with the SSH Foundation and its partners, celebrate the value of sport, its capacity to bring joy to participants and observers, to promote physical and mental well-being, and to create bridges between people”.

The Sport at the Service of Humanity Foundation was established in 2017 to promote these goals. Working with global partners, it has inspired and supported initiatives with sport organizations, educational institutions and governments, and other non-profits to promote the values of sport and faith.

“In our first year, we have been greatly encouraged by the way that our partners have taken the values and principles of our movement, and inspired the lives of the millions of people that they touch. We are excited about ISPS Handa’s support moving forward,” said Chris Lang, CEO of the SSH Foundation.

Under its Global Patron initiative, ISPS Handa will be supporting the development of a Youth Mentoring Program where key global leaders in various sectors of sport, education and non-profit will work with youth leaders to help them develop their skills to succeed in life.

“We are very proud today to be appointed the first Global Patron of the Foundation, and especially excited to be involved in a program that supports mentoring for young leaders,” said Dr Haruhisa Handa today, Founder and Chairman of the International Sports Promotion Society (ISPS Handa). “We believe that sport has the power to inspire, transform and unite people across social, racial and socio-economic barriers.  The SSH Foundation is a partner that shares these values with us.  We look forward to working with them to change the lives of young people.”

Sean Fitzpatrick, who is also Chairman of the prestigious Laureus Foundation, took part in the Vatican Conference and has maintained his support for SSH. “The values they promote chime perfectly with Laureus’ own view on how sport can make a difference,” he said. “There is so much we can do through the sport we love, and which gave us so much pleasure as well as opportunity.”

Lilian Thuram, who flew in from Paris to recognise the commitment of Dr Handa to SSH, founded the Lilian Thuram Foundation to tackle racism.

Helping young leaders tackle the major issues of our times is invaluable,” he said. “You have to explain to children that we are not born racist; we become racist because racism is a cultural thing. It is time to consider ourselves, first and foremost, as human beings. And whether in sport or in faith, SSH is built on the greatest values we can adhere to as human beings.”

St Andrews University and the Sport at the Service of Humanity Foundation have committed to exploring opportunities to work together in the areas of sport and development. The University also has an existing relationship with Dr Handa, who is a generous supporter of St Andrews’ world-leading Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, now known as the Handa CSTPV.

At today’s launch, St Andrews student Maddie Tarr spoke of her experience with the Volunteer Zambia project, which offers students the opportunity to add value to their University education by working alongside Zambian non-government organization, Sport in Action, to deliver school PE lessons, community sports programmes and health awareness workshops within deprived areas of Lusaka.

Maddie commented: “Spending the summer with Volunteer Zambia has become a tradition in the University Basketball Club and I’m extremely grateful to my teammates for encouraging me to go. Spending each day with incredible and inspiring Zambian peers, as well as the kids from the community, completely reshaped my world views, personal life goals and skills. Aside from the honour of representing my University, I had the privilege to pass on my knowledge of culture, English and basketball to some truly incredibly loving children. I will be eternally grateful for the opportunity to have this transformative experience and am grateful for the professional skills of flexibility, preparedness and adaptability I learned along the way.