Today’s Stars, Tomorrow’s Leaders

The same qualities that drive student-athletes to succeed in sports are also key to helping them be leaders in both business and their communities. 

The International University Sports Federation (FISU) is part of the student-athlete team, helping them develop the skills they will need to be tomorrow’s leaders. FISU does this in part through conferences, seminars and partnerships with leading universities and organisations. 

Two key events which it holds are the FISU World Forum and the FISU World Conference.

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First held in 1992 in Paralimni, Cyprus, the FISU World Forum is normally held every two years and brings together students, university sport leaders, speakers and FISU Family members from around the world.

Combining academic sessions with cultural, educational and sporting activities, the Forum takes place over several days and is meant to develop and strengthen the worldwide university sport movement.

The next edition of the Forum is due to take place in 2024 in Zagreb in Croatia, between August 27 and 31.

The city was selected during a FISU Executive Committee meeting in December 2021.

Support will come from the University of Split and the Croatian Academic Sports Federation.

It will be the 17th installment of the Forum, with dates of July 24 to 28 planned.

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2023 FISU World Conference, Chengdu

The second FISU World Conference of 2023 took place in Chinese city Chengdu on the sidelines of the Summer World University Games, between July 29 and 31 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Wenjiang.

The theme of the meeting was "University Sports: Embracing a Colourful World".

Areas explored included "Sports and a better city", "Health in an interactive life", "Technology for a smarter future" and "Culture in a more inclusive world".

A wide range of speakers included David Grevemberg, the chief innovation and partnerships officer with the Centre for Sport and Human Rights and the former chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation.

He was joined by Gudrun Doll Tepper, a professor at the Free University of Berlin and chair of the Germany Olympic Academy, Konstantinos Georgiadis, dean of the International Olympic Academy, and Bastien Presset, a researcher at the University of Lausanne and King’s College London.

Local speakers included Zhong Bingshu, the former President and professor at the Capital University of Physical Education and Sports and vice-president of the Federation of University Sport China, and a member of the FISU Education Committee, and Chen Junshi, an advisor at the China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment.

All accredited participants at Chengdu 2021 were welcome to join the FISU World Conference on site with no additional registration.

Celebrated Olympian and Chinese table tennis superstar Ding Ning was among those to attend.

More than 400 experts and scholars were involved in all.

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2023 FISU World Conference, Lake Placid

Sustainability was the overwhelming theme of the first FISU World Conference in 2023, which took place alongside the Winter World University Games in Lake Placid in New York between January 13 and 15.

"Save Winter" was the slogan for both the Games and the Conference, in the face of climate change pressures.

Three main topics were discussed - "the snow and ice we ski and skate on, both natural and artificial", "carbon footprint while training, competing and recreating" and the "role of inclusion and activism in winter sports and climate change".

The Conference brought together scientists, students, athletes, academics, activists and practitioners.

Olympic figure skating champion Nathan Chen of the United States, activist Bill McKibben, climber Graham Zimmerman and Alpinist Kitty Calhoun were all headline speakers.

The next FISU World Conference will take place during the FISU Games in Chengdu between July 29 and August 1.

It will have the theme "University Sports: Embracing a Colorful World".

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2022 FISU World Forum

The 2022 FISU World Forum was held over the course of a week in Cartago, Costa Rica.

Sessions were held on themes including sustainability, gender equality, well-being, health and reducing inequalities.

A total of 160 people from 45 countries took part in Cartago while more participated online.

In between the workshops, participants were taken out to enjoy the local scenery as they visited the Volcan Irazu National Park.

Gender equality was of particular importance at the Forum.

Speakers included Gisselle Burbano, a UNESCO Specialist, Rosaura Mendez Gamboa, a member of FISU's Executive Committee, Arnaud Richard, a member of FISU's Education Committee, and Marissa Langeni, the chief executive of University Sport South Africa.

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2019 FISU World Conference on Innovation and Education in Sport

Held in conjunction with the Krasnoyarsk 2019 Winter Universiade, the FISU World Conference in 2019 was a time for educators, scientific researchers and business leaders to exchange knowledge and ideas in sport, particularly those of importance to student athletes. 

It was held on March 4 and 5, 2019.

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2018 FISU World Forum

The 2018 FISU World Forum on University Sport was held in Krasnoyarsk, Russia from August 6 to 10. 

Life after sport was the main topic of discussion. 

Russia’s Svetlana Khorkina, a former Olympic gymnastics champion and an ambassador for the 2019 Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk, gave a speech on the importance of preparing for life after retiring from sport, saying the "inner power" athletes have allows them to be a leader "in any field".

A report was also presented on the importance of a "double career", meaning the need to gain qualifications to facilitate a career outside of sport, while simultaneously competing at a high level.

A talk was also given by the President of the National Program of Scholarships for talented athletes from the United States, Guy Taylor, who said that such systems motivate young athletes to achieve success in both the sports and educational arenas.

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2017 FISU World Conference 

Sport, particularly university sport, cuts through the differences and boundaries. It can help bring young generations and nations together. Sport drives cultural, social, and environmental changes for the better. With the tremendous potential of sport, we can broaden the horizon of sport in our lives and communities. 

The aim of the FISU World Conference on Development through Sport in Taipei was to gather, during three days, renowned scholars and young researchers to discuss the place sport has within the university, to exchange ideas regarding its development and the new challenges of university sport.

The 2017 edition provided the opportunity for all participants to better understand what the values of amateur sport can bring to communities. FISU conferences promote the exchange of ideas and the results of scientific research on this specific topic, to make sure competitive and leisure sport is given its appropriate place in the development of young students who are going to be tomorrow’s leaders.

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Gender Equality

FISU is a leader in the study and promotion of including women at all levels of university sport, advocating equality and equity of opportunities for men and women in the field of physical activity, sport and recreation.

The Gender Equality Award is accorded every other year by FISU during the Summer Universiade. This distinction is earned by an organisation or individual doing the most to include equal opportunities for men and women in the university sport arena.

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FISU Youth Leadership Seminars

Organised on the sidelines of FISU sporting and educational events, the FISU Youth Leadership Seminars provide student-athletes and officials opportunities to learn about the topics that are often of great interest to them: social media, communication skills and anti-doping. Professional speakers moderate these seminars. By learning from others' knowledge and experience, participants develop their own competences. Eurosport, the World Anti-Doping Agency, Adecco and JTA are traditional FISU Youth and Leadership Seminar partners.

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RIOU Master of Sport Administration

The Master of Sport Administration of the Russian International Olympic University is a one-year, full-time programme of further professional development in sports management, and is endorsed by the International Olympic Committee. Located in Sochi, the main objective of this sport administration programme is to produce a new generation of effective sports managers with both strategic and operational skills. 

You can find further information here.

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More on FISU Education Events and Committees

To find out more about FISU Educational Events, including information on the Educational Committee, the Gender Equality Committee and the Student Committee, visit the FISU website.