Laureus Sport for Good at Concordia 2020 – ‘Athletes as Champions of Social Change’

Laureus Sport for Good was proud to be invited to join this year’s Concordia Summit (21st – 25th September) – an annual event which brings together an international audience of some of the world’s most influential decision-makers and thought-leaders. 
As a programming partner for this year’s edition of the Summit, Laureus Sport for Good was represented by Laureus Ambassador Chris Paul and Academy Members Missy Franklin and Michael Johnson in main-stage panel discussion on ‘Athletes as Champions of Social Change’.
The conversation, moderated by Laureus Sport for Good Global Chief Executive Adam Fraser, started with the legacy of Laureus’ Founding Patron Nelson Mandela, and addressed the numerous ways athletes are addressing issues within society, using their positions of influence to help address and – in many cases – lead a broader debate.
Missy, Chris and Michael offered their own personal experiences and spoke extensively on the impact that Laureus Sport for Good, much of it seen by the athletes first-hand in their roles as Ambassadors.  They described a pioneering movement in the sport for development space, innovatively working with partners worldwide to help realise local solutions to local problems but with a global perspective and best-practice.  Sport for Good’s contribution to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals was of particular interest to the multi-national audience.
Oklahoma City Thunder star and Laureus Ambassador Chris Paul, who has set up the Social Change Fund with fellow NBA players Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade, spoke about his passion for using his platform and voice to influence positive change in the world.
“What you do off the court is bigger than any shot you can make or any race you can run and that’s what I’ve always tried to be about,” said Chris.
“Being in my 15th year in the NBA, I’ve had the opportunity to travel and meet so many different people. But having the ability to change people’s lives is I think what makes it all worth it.  Along with all of the guys that are in our league and my team mates, we just try to make an impact.”
Four-time Olympic gold medallist and Laureus Academy Member Michael Johnson re-affirmed his belief in the power sport can have to change the lives of children and young people: “I recognise how incredibly powerful sport is so Laureus has been a perfect vessel for me to work with other athletes to help people, through the power of sport.”  
Speaking about Laureus’ Model City concept, which unites a series of Sport for Good programmes in a city environment with the collective aim of reaching and changing the lives of a larger number of young people, Michael said: "We cannot underestimate the power of the collective. The only way to solve problems in our society is by coming together to find a solution"
Missy Franklin, Laureus’ youngest Academy Member, focused on Laureus Sport for Good’s work around gender equality. In 2019 51% of the young people Laureus Sport for Good impacted were boys and young men, while 49% were girls and young women.
"Sport has the power to challenge gender inequality and broader injustice, because it unites people from different backgrounds in a way nothing else really does,” said Missy.
Reflecting on the panel discussion, Laureus Sport for Good Global CEO Adam Fraser said:
“The power of athletes to use their platform to change the world for the better has been a core part of Laureus Sport for Good’s work for 20 years. Chris, Michael and Missy are wonderful examples not just of using their own platforms, but of working in partnership with others to drive greater impact.
“That much-needed collaboration goes beyond athletes to include community-based organisations, businesses, different levels of government and more, and it was exciting to connect with Concordia’s audience and allow them to hear a bit more from these three sporting legends about how partnership can help fulfil the mission which President Mandela gave to Laureus Sport for Good as our founding patron.”
Matthew Swift, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of Concordia: “We're thrilled to welcome Laureus Sport for Good as a Programming Partner for the 2020 Annual Summit. Concordia has a strong belief that bringing people together and building community is the best way to overcome the world's greatest challenges and we're excited to explore how we can expand those efforts through sport."
Over the last 20 years, Laureus Sport for Good has raised more than €150m for the Sport for Development sector, reaching and helping change the lives of more than 6 million children and young people since 2000. Laureus Sport for Good currently supports more than 200 programmes in over 40 countries that use the power of sport to transform lives.

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