International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach encouraged over 40 IOC Young Leaders – including 28 on site in Lausanne – to follow their passion, during the IOC Youth Summit being held from 7 to 9 October 2022. 

The Summit has brought together current and previous IOC Young Leaders to work as a group to generate sport-based solutions to some of the pressing issues being faced in the world. Throughout the three days, the Young Leaders will participate in several “Chat with Olympians” discussions with athletes from around the world, such as Rebecca Wardell (NZL), Vira Perederii (UKR) and Olympic champion Katie Ledecky (USA), in addition to several “Get inspired” and group work sessions.

Passion for sport and its values

Several Young Leaders presented their projects to the IOC President during their “Meet & Greet” session before the floor was opened for questions. An open dialogue ensued, allowing them to benefit from some strong words of advice from the IOC President on how best to make a difference in their communities. Just recently, the IOC President also ensured that the voices of young people are heard in the decision-making process of world sport by appointing seven Young Leaders to IOC commissions, bringing the total of IOC Young Leader commission members to 18.

Addressing questions on how he deals with difficult situations, President Bach gave the Young Leaders the following advice: “Passion for sport and its values: this is what drives us all. You must lead by example. The most important is to stay true to your values and your principles. When you have to take decisions about your professional life, follow your passion!”

President Bach also joined the Young Leaders in thanking Morii Yoshihiro, CMO of Worldwide Olympic Partner Panasonic, the Young Leaders programme’s founding partner. “All the programmes you are doing would not have been possible without the commitment of our friends at Panasonic, who have accompanied this innovative programme since its very beginning. Thank you, Morii-san and everyone at Panasonic, for believing in the power of sport and in the power of youth.”

Looking for the next generation of Young Leaders

Launched in 2016, the IOC Young Leaders programme assists young people with the development and implementation of social projects that use sport to solve issues in their communities. Each project promotes the Olympic values and principles such as respect, tolerance, peace and gender equality, while also addressing a specific local problem.  So far, the IOC Young Leaders have delivered 141 sport-led projects, directly benefitting more than 35,000 people. The programme has empowered 90 Young Leaders from 66 countries. In addition, 18 IOC Young Leaders serve as IOC commission members, reinforcing the position of young people in decision-making on the future of sport.

Any young person aiming to leverage the power of sport to make a positive difference can apply until 20 October 2022 and register for the compulsory initial four-week Learning Sprint as the first step in the application process. Once this step is completed, and based on the project idea submitted, 25 IOC Young Leaders will be selected to benefit from a comprehensive four-year programme, providing them with funding, network support, tools and expertise to become successful social entrepreneurs and make a positive impact through sport.

You can find all the application details here.

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