The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced today that applications are now open for the sixth generation of the IOC Young Leaders programme, supported by Worldwide Olympic Partner Panasonic. The programme aims to support young people in the development and implementation of social projects that use sport to solve issues in their communities.
Any young person aiming to leverage the power of sport to make a positive difference in their community 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.
The IOC Young Leaders Programme is part of the IOC’s long-term commitment to support young people and empower them to become social change-makers through sport, while reinforcing sport’s role as an enabler for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The programme is designed to best equip the selected young leaders to solve local problems through grassroots sports initiatives and sustainable business models. This includes a mandatory online four-week learning sprint, a blended learning approach with monthly activities and in-person events, weekly learning modules and leadership opportunities, but also a total of CHF 10,000 in seed-funding given to each participant over the four years.
Changing lives with projects all over the world
“Having the IOC supporting our projects through the Young Leaders programme is amazing,” commented Sophia Papamichalopoulos OLY, a current IOC Young Leader from Cyprus, whose project is aimed at creating a more integrated Cypriot society. “We’ve been given the resources needed to bring these projects to life and, in addition, a great platform for exposure and promotion. With this support we’re creating unique projects all over the world.”
“When I heard about the opportunity with the IOC Young Leaders, I was really excited by it,” commented Jemima Montag, OLY, a current IOC Young Leader from Australia, whose Play On project focuses on inclusivity in sport. “Since joining the programme, there has been a lot of personal development for me as well as opportunities to really impact the lives of a number of young women and girls.”
“Taking part in the IOC Young Leaders programme helped me realise that I am a little bit braver than I thought. And I have been learning to balance my heart and mind when it comes to making decisions related to the social project I am developing.” Layana de Souza is a current IOC young leader from Brazil, whose project is aimed at fighting poverty and poor-quality education through basketball.
The IOC Young Leaders programme
Launched in 2016, the IOC Young Leaders programme empowers young people to leverage the power of sport to make a positive difference 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.
Worldwide Olympic Partner Panasonic’s continued support
The IOC Young Leaders programme has been supported by Worldwide Olympic and Paralympic Partner Panasonic since 2017, and this will continue through to 2024. Panasonic, as the programme’s founding partner, is committed to supporting the IOC Young Leaders through different initiatives, for example providing its creative and technological expertise, along with its network of influencers and ambassadors, to inspire the Young Leaders and equip them with the skills and tools they need to enhance their projects.
Find out more about Panasonic’s support for the programme.