UNESCO Symposium on Youth Civic Engagement and Leadership Through Sport Set For August 28 in Dublin
June 12, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
This summer an unprecedented youth development event is coming to Ireland. Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics is pleased to join with the UNESCO Chair in Community, Leadership and Youth Development at Penn State to launch an important movement focusing on youth development through sport.
On August 30, the Croke Park Classic will match the Penn State and University of Central Florida football teams at Croke Park Stadium in Dublin, Ireland.
In conjunction with the football game, a major symposium will be held on August 28 at Croke Park Stadium to highlight and advance international youth development: The UNESCO Symposium on Youth Civic Engagement and Leadership through Sport and Recreation. The symposium represents the scholarly commitment of Penn State and its partners in UNESCO, Ireland, and Northern Ireland to advancing international youth development programs and policy.
According to the United Nations, 50 percent of the world population is age 25 or younger, with 85 percent of all youth living in less developed countries. These figures describe an environment in which the active engagement of youth is essential to international security, stability, regional capacity building, and many development outcomes. However, engaging youth requires innovative strategies such as initiating youth leadership through the mechanism of sports and recreation.
This symposium will bring together experts, practitioners, members of development organizations, UNESCO goodwill ambassadors, and youth leaders to create innovative solutions to issues that directly impact youth and their communities. The symposium will develop a series of key policy directions and a major formal UN declaration on utilizing sports and recreation as mechanisms for youth development worldwide. This declaration will be presented to the UN, UNESCO, and UNICEF as a platform for them to build global programming and policy.
"The symposium represents the scholarly commitment of Penn State and its partners in Ireland and Northern Ireland to advancing international youth development programs and policy," said Mark Brennan, a professor and the UNESCO chair in rural community, leadership and youth development at Penn State since 2013.
Brennan worked closely with Pat Dolan, UNESCO chair on youth civic engagement at the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG), and Alan Smith, UNESCO chair in pluralism, human rights and democracy at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, to make their shared vision a reality.
"The active engagement and development of leadership skills among youth is essential to international security, stability, regional capacity building, and increased quality of life worldwide," Brennan said. "This symposium will bring together UNESCO chairs from across the globe, along with practitioners and members of development organizations, subject-matter experts, and youth leaders to showcase and exchange their experiences and best practices in this area."
The Symposium will result in the Croke Park Declaration on Youth Civic Engagement and Leadership, significant policy initiatives, major visibility with attending UNESCO Celebrity Goodwill Ambassadors, and attendance by leading political representatives.
In addition to Intercollegiate Athletics, among the other Penn State departments expected to participate in the August 28 UNESCO symposium are: the Prevention Research Center, Outreach, World Campus and Schreyer Honors College, as well as other individuals.
Kickoff for the Aug. 30 Croke Park Classic is set for 1:30 p.m. in Dublin; 8:30 a.m. ET. The game will air on ESPN2, the Penn State Sports Network and GoPSUsports.com.