Doha GOALS Forum set for December

Jul 31, 2012, 06:00 ET from Doha GOALS

LONDON, July 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

Athletics legend Carl Lewis leads those backing new initiative aimed at driving social and economic change through sport

Doha GOALS, a new initiative designed to develop the use of sport as a driver for social and economic change, today announced its inaugural, annual Forum, which will take place from December 10 - 12, 2012.

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Doha GOALS - Gathering of All Leaders In Sport - was created under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, and was launched during the Olympics.

The initiative, from the Aspire Zone Foundation and Richard Attias & Associates, will build a community of hundreds of key influencers from all spheres of life who believe sport is a crucial vehicle for social and economic development.

Three of those influencers are amongst the speakers at the Forum later this year - athletics legend and multi-Olympic gold medallist Carl Lewis; Oscar Pistorius, who will become the first ever Paralympian to compete at an Olympic Games; and multiple Olympic gold medallist, swimmer Mark Spitz.

Carl Lewis says: "Sport creates opportunities for communities: athletes from small countries and impoverished areas can compete on the global stage and shine a spotlight on their communities. This in turn creates economic opportunities at home, opens the outside world to seeing and understanding new cultures, and empowers athletes to use the public platform for good."

Lewis has a Foundation, focusing on sports in education,

and serves as a volunteer athletics coach at his old high school in New Jersey. He also has an active role as a UN ambassador.

He explained: "After more than 30 years of being in the public eye, I have a global voice. You have to ask yourself: how can I use my voice to remain relevant and to make a difference?"

Sheikh Faisal Al Thani, Executive Director of Doha GOALS, says: "We are delighted launch the inaugural annual Doha GOALS Forum during the Olympics. We want to make a tangible difference which why the focus of this Forum has been placed firmly on driving action and making positive changes. We want to produce initiatives to tackle challenges to society and work on developing and improve key areas within sport."

Richard Attias, the former producer of the World Economic Forum in Davos, will produce Doha GOALS. He says: "Sport has the power to bring about great social integration, as well as bring communities together in a spirit of trust and friendship.

"Doha GOALS is a call to action that will bring together a community of policymakers and government officials, heads of business, athletes, NGOs and students to build a roadmap for how we can harness this power to improve societies around the world."

The Forum structure will include plenary sessions, debates, and focused taskforces to facilitate constructive brainstorming and focused collaboration using pioneering technology.

The objectives of the Forum were dictated by a taskforce of more than 50 of the leading policymakers, innovators, sports scientists, physicians, federations heads, academics, athletes, corporate executives and competitors who gathered for a Pre-Forum event in January 2012. This group, which included top executives from FC Barcelona, IMG, Coca-Cola, as well as federation heads, and past and present athletes, debated economic development, the commercialisation of sports, the welfare of athletes, and sport as a vehicle for tourism growth.

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