On the 22nd of March, the Forum on Youth, Education and Sports could only be hailed a great success. The forum was part of IFMA’s first ever Muaythai University World Cup 2015, under the patronage of FISU and was organised by IFMA and the Institute of Physical Education. A part of IFMA”s social responsibility, 2 forums will be organised every year in venue around the world. The last successful forum was held in Langkawi, Malaysia and this year Thailand is honoured to the proud hosts of the forum.

The forum opened with welcome notes from the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sport Dr Suwat Sidthilaw, The Director of Student Capacity and Development Group for the University Sports Board, Mr Chatchai Srivilai and our very own IFMA President, Dr Sakchye Tapsuwan which were followed by a very informative keynote by Mr Paulo Ferreira, the World University Championship Director from FISU. Representing the University Sports Board, we had Assistant Professor Mr Tavorn Kamutsri, who delivered facts on Thailand’s involvement with university sports games and how Thailand hosted the 2007 Universiade.

We were also privileged to have the UN Women Regional Programme Manager for Ending Violence Against Women, Mrs Anna-Karin Jatfors, who spoke about the role of sports and young people in raising awareness about this critical issue, with example of breakthroughs in projects around the world. She ended the session with encouraging words for the youth attending the forum and an inspirational story about Khun Ying Mo, a brave woman leader in the history of Muaythai, to bring home the message that to reach the goal of gender equality and non-violence, men and women have to work side by side. We continue to treasure our partnership with UN Women, including promoting the UNiTE Campaign.

In the highly anticipated lead up to the Summer Olympics in Rio 2016, we were excited to have a dynamic video presentation from the Brazilian Government with a special address from HE Gilberto Fonseca Guimarães de Moura and an informative session from Sec. Flávio Campestrin Bettarello on the games and additionally on opportunities for youth in social inclusion activities through sport.

After lunch, we were resumed with a session from Mr Kristof Szucs, Integrity Advisor from SportAccord, who spoke on Sport Integrity, highlighting issues on Doping and Match fixing claiming the two as activities that only benefits the gambler but devastates the sport, the athletes, the coaches, the media, the fans and sponsors as a whole. Mr Szucs delved into greater depth on sport betting and SportAccord’s effort to restore and maintain integrity in sport and concluding that the combined cooperation of transnational and national stakeholders is key to fight not only the symptom but more importantly the disease.

The last speaker was our very own IFMA General Secretary, Mr Stephan Fox who spoke on the Social responsibility of Muaythai towards youth, especially with respects to Crime Prevention. The youth in attendance were particularly enthused with a video clip of the great Bruce Lee in action who is also a great inspiration for Mr Fox.

The forum concluded with a Panel Discussion with all the key speakers. Ms Samara Yawnghwe, member and advisor for IFMA and former member of the IFMA Social Responsibility Unit moderated the day. Miss Yawnghwe did an excellent job of presenting the speakers and running the Panel Discussion and once again showed her passion for the sport and cultural art form of Muaythai and its social values.

Over 200 people were in attendance, including individuals from Thai universities, embassies, IFMA community and charitable organisations. We specially thank the speakers, the Royal Thai Government, the Institute of Physical Education, the moderator and all the delegates. IFMA will continue on their mission to make this world fitter, better through youth, education and sport!