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On the Coach’s Day, on September 30th, within a team online quiz, the leading representatives of philanthropy, sport and business gathered together to discuss the results of Russian and international research initiated by the Vladimir Potanin Foundation which sets a new social trend: design of social projects in sport. This research is a springboard for the Vladimir Potanin Foundation to launch a new area of its activities called “Power of Sport” which is aimed at supporting sport social projects and disseminating the best practices in the field.
During a virtual sport competition on the Center’s “Blagosfera” online platform three teams of participants answered the questions on the role of social sport. A review of international sport projects prepared by HSE University and research of Russian initiatives in this area prepared by a team of experts from “Platforma”, the Center for Planning and Designing Social Projects, were introduced during the break. Oksana Oracheva, the General Director of the Vladimir Potanin Foundation; Dmitry Lisitsin, the Head of the Department for Social Innovations and Regional Development, the Center for Planning and Designing Social Projects “Platforma”; Maria Eremenko, the leading expert of the Center for Local Community Relations, Institute for Applied Political Studies of HSE University; David S. Evangelista, the President and the Managing Director of Special Olympics; Daniel Anorve, the Professor of the Department for Political and Governance Studies, the University of Guanajuato shared their expert opinions. Natalia Kaminarskaya, the Director of the Center “Blagosfera”, and Elena Temicheva, the Director for Communications and Strategic Development of 'Blagosfera” moderated the meeting.
The event was opened by Oksana Oracheva, the General Director of the Vladimir Potanin Foundation: “Not coincidentally, we are talking about sport today, on the Coach’s Day. Starting this discussion, we want to analyze everyday events from a different perspective. Let’s discuss how sport, society and innovations can change our life for the better”.
Dmitry Lisitsin, the Head of the Department for Social Innovations and Regional Development of the “Platforma” Center continued the topic emphasizing the importance of social sport and presenting the key findings of the research of this phenomenon “When we speak about sport as a process, then achievements and wins are not the main goal. Common good, which involves health, beauty and movement, is a priority. And this demonstrates a social component of sport. We attempted to understand within this research, what social effects are achieved through development of social sport practices. Health and physical transformation, removal of social barriers, development of positive communities, replacement of negative habits, development of territories and even solution of fundamental social problems are among the key effects of these practices”.
The expert noted that among main problems that social sport encounters is a lack of social competence among organizers, who are usually business people, of such events. There is also a problem of a gap between initial goals of a project and its scale during the development. As a result, the project organizers do not have resources and time to manage it.
Then participants discussed concrete projects from the point of view of their initial goal and Maria Eremenko, the leading expert of the Center for Local Community Relations, Institute for Applied Political Studies of HSE University, shared the ideas on key trends in social sport that were identified in the research conducted by HSE University. Particularly, Maria highlighted the concept “sport for global development” which is gaining popularity and many events are conducted annually within this concept; the trend towards working with children and youth and promotion of team sports because they are aimed at development of team spirit and collaboration.
Participants discussed Special Olympics, a competition on Olympic sports among people with mental disabilities, as one of the major international projects of social sport. David S. Evangelista, the President and the Managing Director of Special Olympics, Europe, Eurasia took part in the discussion.
“Special Olympics is a part of an international dialogue about power of sport”, he noted. “We enable people with mental disabilities and this stimulates us to behave in a different way: we become better parents, friends and coaches. We inspire them and they inspire us. It can be observed now that we achieved a lot and sport can change the world and make it more unified. People with mental disabilities acquire vital skills: self-discipline, work in a team, ability to win and lose and we are proud of what we are doing”.
Oksana Oracheva shared plans on development of the Foundation’s activities in this new area “Power of Sport”.
“We started developing this program some time ago but it was inside the Foundation because we were preparing concrete products. The quiz demonstrated that, with the help of sport, we can talk about complex things in a simple way and we can solve various problems. The first component of the program is conducting research and dissemination its findings. This is important because we need to understand what happens in Russia and abroad, share experience and move forward together. The second component is about social sport practices and their support. We will use traditional instruments: we will hold a competition and we will work with a new audience. Social sport is a new theme and that is why we raise awareness of all stakeholders about social component of sport and we will demonstrate what instruments can be used, also in NGOs’ activities. It is crucial to demonstrate that we are a part of international community and sport is a universal language that unities us”, - Oksana Oracheva commented.