The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) announced the first 2013 Sports Summit, to be hosted on October 22 in the Cayman Islands.
The principal objective of the 2013 Sports Summit is to enhance and extend the important partnerships FIFA strives for between governments and football federations in order to grow and develop the sport, but the summit also aims to foster an understanding of the added value the sport brings to society. This summit's theme, "Transformation through Partnership," attempts to detail the many ways the sport can positively impact the social and economic development of nations beyond the known sports tourism and event-organizing opportunities.
CONCACAF president, Jeffrey Webb, put it this way: "CONCACAF is fostering this dialogue to set strategies of collaboration for the future development and growth of our region. The confederation will assemble all stakeholders to better understand and maximize the potential for strong partnership and cooperation between government[al] authorities and [FIFA] federations."
Participants to the summit will include the ministers of sport and presidents of CONCACAF's 41 member associations, but what is of note is the prominence of other contributors on the day-long agenda. Aside from a keynote speech by FIFA president Joseph Blatter, other panelists and speakers will include UNAIDS Senior Advisor to the Executive Director, Dr Djibril Diallo; CEO of the Supreme Committee, FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, Hassan Abdullah Al-Thawadi; and CEO of the FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010, Dr Danny Jordaan.
"We are honored to have such distinguished speakers to offer their unique [views] on the power of football as a tool for social, cultural, and economic development," Webb concluded.
The tone and content of this unique gathering reflected its high aims. The summit's agenda will include discussions about:
* The impact of football on societies (including health, education, and crime prevention);
* The economic legacies of football (from hosting events, to ongoing domestic league activities);
* The potential of successful cross-sector and public/private partnerships;
* Players' and coaches' perspectives on how the game has changed their lives, and how the sport can change those of others directly and indirectly.
Organizers hope the carefully crafted agenda and specially selected participants, who will share first-hand experiences, will begin to build the knowledge base that will form a needed foundation. Those underpinnings will be the ones CONCACAF hopes to build upon. If the summit succeeds a new model and edifice might arise jointly. The model could show how those links we all know exist, but which have not often been made widely explicit, are powerful engines of positive change. That edifice could bring together those already touched by the sport with those most in need of its inspiration, and hopefully develop the means of replicating the opportunity for such connections throughout our global community.