FFAV at Beyond Sport United 2017

As I said before my work with Football for All in Vietnam (FFAV) is not over as I continue to support FFAV from abroad. On July 26th and 27th I was honored to represent and be an ambassador for FFAV at Beyond Sport United 2017 in New York City. At Beyond Sport United 2017, leaders in sports and development from the entire world came together for innovative and engaging community driven content, and thoughtful discussion on how we are using sport to work toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Over the two days I was fortunate to be exposed to so many wonderful people utilizing sport and physical activity to change the world. It was a great time to network with people from various backgrounds, while also advocating for the work that FFAV is doing.

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On the first day of the event we gathered in Brooklyn to learn about ‘Community in Action’ hosted by Street Soccer USA. We participated in a range of activities and were able to listen to inspiring talks from local guest speakers. Through fun and interactive learning we shared knowledge on how to use sport for social change. There were sessions on gender equality and inclusion, education, bullying prevention and protection, health and well being, and teaching pathways for employment. Learning and playing games with all of the participants is an experience I am grateful to have. An activity I took part in was lead by Girls Determined from Myanmar. We played a game, where we split into teams of 4 and each team member was given a pre-determined disability (e.g., blindness, not using hands, deafness) and we had to work together to get a few items across a playing area.

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At night we all attended the Beyond Sport Global Awards where the 2017 winners were announced for their work in communities around the world. Many impactful projects, teams, leagues and organizations were showcased focusing on the important work they do with their target audiences. It was an inspiring night filled with heartwarming projects. It was a pleasure to know that FFAV is working along side so many wonderful projects in this field. Meeting the shortlisted nominees this year provided me insight on how to enrich FFAV’s global influence and acknowledgement.

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On the second day we convened as a group to learn, discuss and better understand how sport and physical activity is working in an ever-changing socio-political landscape. The question we asked ourselves was, “What can sport organizations do to make a difference in the social issues they care about?” With this question in mind there were speakers, panel discussions, workshops and stories shared among all the participants. It was a fruitful time to connect with so many individuals doing sport for social change work around the world. I even met our partners such as UNICEF and Women Win. Better yet, in most cases when I mentioned FFAV people knew about our project! We are definitely having a global impact and people are noticing!

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Overall, it was wonderful two days of learning and sharing. I believe that FFAV will return to Beyond Sport United in the future with the hopes of being short-listed for an award! To know that our work is already being recognized by other projects across the world is an inspiration for us to continue to build the FFAV name across the world.

Michael Dao

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