Global stars inspired by Generation Amazing as young leaders take back new expertise to communities
For the five football and two basketball legends who stood on the court at the CSKA Basketball arena in Moscow recently during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, it was the Generation Amazing youth ambassadors from Qatar, India, the Phillipines, as well as their young counterparts from Best Buddies Russia that were the real stars of the day. Generation Amazing took 16 young leaders from across Asia to their first ever World Cup, on a week-long trip which included leadership workshops and activities to develop their capabilities.
“Generation Amazing is a great initiative and I am proud to be part of it today,” said Florent Malouda, the former France and Chelsea forward who played for his country at two FIFA World Cup™ tournaments, including reaching the Final at Germany 2006. ´It is a positive thing to use the powerful effect of football. I hope that many people support this programme and the people who are running it.´
Alongside the illustrious Frenchman was a star-studded line-up which included Qatari legend Ibrahim Khalfan from the country´s legendary 1981 team, five time World Cup coach Bora Milutinovic from Serbia, former Argentina and Barcelona star Javier Saviola, and former England and Liverpool striker Stan Collymore. Together they took part in Moscow in the sport for development activity jointly organised by CSKA Moscow´s One Team, and Generation Amazing, which invited 16 young leaders from communities in Qatar, India and the Philippines to experience their first ever World Cup.
´It was amazing, I am so proud to be part of this programme,´ said Maha Al Badr, a young Qatari ambassador who had earlier in the trip taken part in a live studio visit and interview on Qatar´s beIN Sports World Cup broadcaster. ´It allows me to give back what Qatar gave me in these past years, and I am so excited about the World Cup that we will host in 2022. I know that we can make it a wonderful event which people will enjoy. I like how Generation Amazing develops people as leaders and uses football to make the community better.´
For Mead Al Emadi, Local and Regional CSR Manager with Generation Amazing, the visit to Russia offered the young ambassadors a chance to learn important news skills which can now be transferred to their friends and compatriots: ´We have significantly expanded the reach of Generation Amazing in Qatar and the region, and will be expanding into new countries in the near future. These young ambassadors we took to Moscow are a reflection of the positive and inspirational effect we are having in all of the different communities which we are reaching through the power of football.´
Coming on the last day of their dream trip to Russia, the activity with legends included a basketball for development activity with Ivan Edeshko, 1972 Olympic champion, and Dmitry Minaev, longtime CSKA Moscow player and Russian champion. Whether basketball or football, the emphasis throughout the two hour event was placed firmly on learning and communication.
´Some of these ids come from difficult circumstances, and it made us feel very proud to be here and join them with Generation Amazing,´ said Javier Saviola, who represented Argentina at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, and won Olympic gold with his country two years earlier. ´The important thing is that they enjoyed themselves, and that they can take important lessons and values from us, such as education, humility, all that we had to be able to achieve what we did. I hope that in the future they can take what we transmitted to them today back to their communities.´
Indian Generation Amazing ambassador Pallavi Shyamsunder highlighted the impact which the programme is already having in her community: ´Generation Amazing brings social change to our communities. They are bringing together organisations which develop life skills in the participants. I am working with over 150 children in my community, and when I go back to India I will take back my new skills and implement them with the children I work with.´
The group also attended their first ever FIFA World Cup™ match in Moscow, and learned from fellow Generation Amazing ambassadors at the FIFA Foundation Festival, which hosts 192 youth from 36 countries.
Meanwhile, for Ronalyn Lagata from the Phillipines, the experience of the week-long workshops helped her develop leadership and life skills. ´It is my first time to watch a FIFA World Cup, and the crowd is so huge and powerful that you get inspired by it,´ the 21 year-old said.
“I liked the leadership workshops which we did in Moscow because they helped me to overcome any challenges which might come our way. The group has been fantastic and everyone is participating well from different nationalities, so Generation Amazing really helps to bring us all together from different nationalities and backgrounds.”
Looking back on the conclusion of the Generation Amazing programme at Russia 2018, CSR Senior Manager Isabel Gultresa said: ´This event was a big success because we were able to showcase the work we are doing in communities across Asia, and how Generation Amazing can be adapted to different sports and contexts. The power of sport to bring people together is incredible, and it was great to work with CSKA Moscow and an honour to host the Best Buddies children. Our new ambassadors will bring their expertise and learnings back to their countries.´
Having already been present at the first Generation Amazing event in Moscow with Xavi Hernandez and a group of eight Generation Amazing worker ambassadors, former England and Liverpool striker Stan Collymore once again brought his energy and enthusiasm to the second event in Russia.
´We had a great time at both events with Generation Amazing in Moscow, and it was great to see the kids have fun, being the centre of attention and growing as youngsters. Hopefully we will see you all in Qatar soon,´ he concluded.