IFMA’s Youth Ambassador Reflects on Experience at UN Youth Leadership Programme

IFMA’s Youth Ambassador Kiana Guyon has recently returned from Gwangju, South Korea where she received a certification from the United Nations Office for Sport Development and Peace (UNOSDP), for her participation at the Youth Leadership Programme (YLP) where she also completed an introduction to child safeguarding and protection.

The YLP took place at the Honam University where 34 participants from 16 different countries from the Asia-Pacific area took part in a 12 –day programme which allowed them to learn and improve their leadership skills and help them to bring new knowledge back to apply within their own communities.

Representatives from various organisations such as Right To Play, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), the International Swimming Federation (FINA), the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), UNAIDS and the Football Association (FIFA) shared their knowledge about sport development. Different activities were set up for the participants in order to facilitate their understanding of the power of sport and how it can affect positive change.

One example highlighted by Kiana in her post-camp report was when representatives of the International Paralympic Committee divided the 34 participants into different groups, and asked them to come up with an activity or game that includes abled and disabled bodies. Some groups used an existing sport such as football and simply changed the rules to promote inclusion for the visually impaired or disabled bodies, others invented a relay course with obstacles that encouraged teamwork and trust between one another. Each organisation gave the participants the freedom to come up with their own activity all the while respecting security measures, using materials that were readily available, making sure that the activity was suited for the right group of people and determining what message or lesson was to be conveyed. Subjects ranged from topics such as social inclusion, gender equality, HIV/AIDS awareness or empowerment.

Whether it be during sporting activities or after hours, the Youth Leadership Programme allowed the participants to create a strong bond between one another and learn from their personal experiences and their communities. Each participant had their own stories to share in order to help and eventually create partnerships.

Kiana explained that another memorable activity during the YLP was the  “EPICS Forum 2014” and gave them the opportunity to meet important figures such as Kim Won-Soo the Assistant Secretary and Special Advisor to the UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon and Mr.Wilfried Lemke the special advisor to the UN General Secretary on Sports Development and Peace. They also had the opportunity to discover wonders of the Korean culture and the beauty of Gwangju, the host city of the 2015 Summer Universiade.

The Youth Leadership Programme has been a truly life-changing experience for me and I was able to learn a lot from the people I met there and will never forget the wonderful moments and lifelong bonds I have made during my time spent there.” – Kiana Guyon

IFMA General Secretary Stephan Fox stated “I am very happy that our Youth Ambassador was chosen to participate in this important workshop and YLP. Youth development and social responsibilities are very important for muaythai in general and Kiana will now bring back her experiences and what she has learned into our different commissions. Muaythai is very proud to continue our close relationship with the United Nations. We won the 2014 Spirit of Sport awards and recently signed an MOU with UN Women to cooperate on the Unite campaign to End Violence Against Women, and are looking forward for the official launch of muaythai’s Unite campaign which will take place in Mexico this November.”