Young Leaders Serve as Role Models

“Live Like You Play”

Young Leaders Mentoring Program Participants

In 2018, SPORT AT THE SERVICE OF HUMANITY launched their Young Leaders Mentoring Program, presented by ISPS Handa. This program is designed to inspire the next generation of sports leaders and role models to embrace their values and “Live Like You Play.”

Building on the success of the inaugural year, the Young Leaders Mentoring Program is pleased to introduce the incredible group of young leaders and mentors selected to embark on the second year of this life-shaping program.

This year’s Young Leaders come to us from Central Africa, Afghanistan, South Africa and Argentina. Each brings with them their own unique story of sport and leadership. Over the course of the next year, under the mentorship of distinguished sport and business champions, they will join together in a transformational journey.

Meet Our Inspiring Young Leaders & Global Mentors:

Gerald Mballe

Gerald Mballe

GERALD is an active spokesperson for the Special Olympics movement and promotes the Special Olympics inclusive sports programme called Unified Sports. A refugee from Cameroon, Gerald fled violence from Boko Haram in the northern part of the country and moved to Italy. He is now an aspiring university student who recently graduated high school and intends to dedicate himself to International Studies, Development and Cooperation. Gerald most recently competed as part of the Special Olympics Italia Unified Football team at the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in March 2019. He envisions a world where individuals with intellectual disabilities lead the way in educating the world on what it means to celebrate differences, inclusion, and mankind’s common bond. For more on Gerald and his inspirational journey, click here.

Gerald will be mentored by RABBI CARLOS TAPIERO, Deputy-Director General and the Director of Education of Maccabi World Union, an organization that utilises sports to bring Jewish people of all ages closer to Judaism and Israel. For 12 years, he served as CEO and Rabbi of the Jewish Community of Guatemala. Tapiero lectures on numerous topics in the USA, Europe, Latin America, Africa and Israel, and his experience ranges over much of the theoretical and practical nexus of modern Jewish community organisation and sports: community and institutional direction and organisation; network building; Judaism as culture; writing and implementation of educational curricula for all ages and endowment funds.

The pairing of Gerald and Rabbi Tapiero will unite these two passionate individuals around their commitment to youth sports and education.

“Sport is one of the most successful vehicles to bring youth into a world of values, teamwork and positive action. Sports always have the possibility of growth, internal growth, for all those engaged in sport. [The Young Leaders Mentoring Program] is an extraordinary program, which provides opportunities to those very creative and committed young people, in order to build a better future for human kind.”

Khalida Popal

KHALIDA is a women’s rights activist and former captain of the Afghanistan Women’s National Football Team. In 2011, facing serious death threats due to her activities for women’s empowerment, Khalida was forced to flee from her homeland. In 2014, she founded Girl Power – an organization that uses the power of sport to empower girls, women, refugees and minorities.

Her hard work and dedication earned her a Champion of the Year award from Peace and Sport. Currently residing in Copenhagen, Khalida now works at FC Nordsjælland Danish Premier League Club, Women’s Football Department. She also travels around as a guest speaker at various events including UN Women, FIFA, World Football Summit, among others.

Khalida will be mentored by MARIA VALLES SEGURA, Director General, FC Barcelona Foundation. Maria Valles was appointed Director General of FC Barcelona Foundation in May 2016, with a mandate to give a new impetus to the development of program focused on educating children in values through sport. Prior to FC Barcelona, Vallès has been the director of external management at the Vicente Ferrer Foundation since 2012. With more than 18 years of experience in the non-profit sector, she was also in charge of communication and advocacy for IS Global, executive director of the AIDS Foundation and responsible for Fundraising and Communication for Doctors Without Borders. Maria has also coordinated various humanitarian aid and development programs in Kenya on Africa (Africa) and in Guatemala (Latin America).

Khalida and Maria have the unique benefit of having had the opportunity to meet previously when Khalida was a featured in the 2018 FCB/ UNHCR Forum on refugees. Both mentor and mentee will unite over the shared work that they do for refugees.

Mpai Rampou

MPAI was born in Mafikeng, South Africa. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sport and Recreation Management, as well as, a Master’s degree in Sport Recreation and Exercise Science at the University of the Western Cape. Her thesis titled “Systematic Review on Therapeutic Recreation Programs for Youth at Risk” was published in the African Journal for Physical, Health Education, Recreation and Dance. Sport has been a very important part of Mpai’s life for as long as she can remember – as an athlete or coach in sports such as water polo, netball and swimming. She has also been involved in organizing a number of sporting events including the 2014 Muizenberg Festival held in Cape Town, the South African Homeless Soccer World Cup Team and Waves for Change. Mpai wants to use her passion to use sport as a platform to uplift and empower female youth in low-resourced communities.

Mpai will be mentored by CHARMAINE CROOKS, Five-Time Canadian Olympian and Olympic Silver Medalist. Charmaine is a Member of the Order of Canada (C.M.), entrepreneur, director, speaker, and advocate for sport. She is Founder of NGU Consultants, a global consultancy and management firm and co-founder of the 365 International Sport Foundation dedicated to bringing communities together through sport. She is also a global Champion for Peace with Peace and Sport and founding member of Right to Play International Board. A former elected Member of the International Olympic Committee, Charmaine served on the Athlete’s Commission, Press Commission, Culture and Education Commission, New Media working group, IOC 2000 Reform Commission and the founding IOC Ethics Committee. She is currently a member of the Canadian Olympic Committee (Olympians Canada), Canadian Soccer Association and the Organising Committee for FIFA Competitions.

Over the course of the next year, Mpai will work with Charmaine to strengthen her knowledge of sport and the ways in which it can be used to empower communities, in particular youth.

“We’re using sport as a vehicle to change people’s lives and make the environment better. Especially in a community where there’s so much poverty and sadness, I think it changes their mindset and that also carries off the field into their homes, into their schools.”

Martin “Cuchu” Rojkes

MARTIN is a youth leadership counsellor, informal educator, football player and football coach who is currently studying industrial engineering at the Universidadde Buenos Aires. MartinorCuchu, as he is fondly called by his friends and family, has been involved in informal education for about 9 years, starting as a madrich (young counselor) and now serves as Coordinator for the School of Leadership for Young Counsellors.

In sports, Martin coached a team of 10 year-old kids who competed in the National Maccabi Games 2010 and since 2014, has served as Captain of a football team competing at the Intern Tournament.

In 2015, he created and launched a campaign themed around Respect on and off the playing field – “Ninguna camiseta es más importante que uncompañero”which means, “No shirt is more important than a friend”.

Martin will be mentored by GEORGE PYNE , Founder & CEO of Bruin Sports Capital which he founded in January 2015. Bruin specializes in developing high-growth, high-yield global businesses in the technology, sports, media, live events, marketing, and entertainment sectors. He is also Non- Executive Chairman of Courtside Ventures, an early-stage fund launched in 2016 devoted to entrepreneurs transforming the intersection of sports, media, and technology. Multiple prestigious publications and organizations have recognized Pyne as one of the great sports industrialists of the last quarter century. He is a Board Member of the National Football Foundation and the National Catholic Charities for the Archdiocese of New
York and was previously on the Board of 24-Hour Fitness.

This mentor/mentee pair will unite over their common interest in engineering and technology, and their entrepreneurial spirit.

“Sport at the Service of Humanity is a great way to change the world using the universal language which is sports.”

A Time of Celebration

As we look ahead to the second year of our Young Leaders Mentoring Program, we are excited about the many incredible opportunities for development and growth that await our four talented mentees. We thank the young leaders and their mentors for their time and commitment to this program, and their willingness to live by the Sport at the Service of Humanity Principles – Compassion, Respect, Love, Balance, Enlightenment, Joy. The world and their communities will be better for their efforts.

“I ask that you live your sport as a gift from God, an opportunity not only to bring your talents to fruition, but also as a responsibility.”

We head into October with much to celebrate with the three-year anniversary of Sport at the Service of Humanity. On October 5, 2016, we launched the First Global Conference on Faith and Sport with Pope Francis, UNSG Ban Ki-moon, IOC President Thomas Bach and 400+ special guests in an Opening Ceremony held at the Vatican. Since that time, we have seen much success and growth as people from around the world have embraced this movement. More on what the future holds for Sport at the Service of Humanity will be shared in next month’s newsletter, as well as, on our various social media channels.