Rekha Aramuthu, graduate of the San Diego State Sports MBA Program, recently attended the 2015 Doha GOALS Forum as a Student Ambassador. For the first time in four years this powerful event was held in Los Angeles, CA. Here are some of the highlights of her experience in her own words:
Doha GOALS is a forum to bring together world leaders and youth to discuss problems surrounding areas such as: social inclusion, diversity, education, children, health and beyond. The unique nature of this forum is to not only discuss social issues but to also come up with solutions to address problems through sport as a tool for social change.
This year saw the successful completion of the 4th edition of Doha GOALS at Los Angeles. The entire conference lasted four days with activities for student ambassadors, interesting panels and renowned guest speakers. The day before the conference there were fun activities for the students, a 5k run and a friendly soccer tournament. The first day of the conference featured many guest speakers including, Janet Froetscher CEO, Special Olympics, Daina Shiltz, Athlete, Snowboarder. The speakers spoke extensively about the Special Olympics and shared some personal stories that inspired the audience.
Following this, we all headed to the Coliseum to watch the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics. There were great performances by leading stars, including Avril Lavigne, Eva Longoria and Tim Harris, to name a few. The highlight was definitely the sheer number of athletes who had gathered from various countries to compete in the World Games, it was truly an inspiring moment for everyone in the audience. The First Lady, Michelle Obama declared the games open, which was followed by beautiful fireworks at the Coliseum!
The second and third day of the conference primarily consisted of panels and guest speakers including Michael Phelps, 22-Time Medalist and Travis Pastrana, Global RallyCross Champion. The student ambassadors were engaged in six taskforces surrounding topics such as Diversity in Sports, Solving big problems through Philanthropy, Sports and Social Good, Diversity and Inclusion, Partnership for Good and Sports and Social Entrepreneurship. The students were asked to come up with innovative ideas to address some of the issues around sports. These ideas were then collected and/or presented to the judges. Feasible ideas were given further consideration for implementation.
While this was one of the ways in which students were given a platform to present their ideas, they were also invited to propose projects involving sport for social good. From the many proposals the organizing committee received, four projects were selected to be presented in front of the judges and secure funding from the Doha GOALS Foundation. The conference was officially closed by Richard Attias, Executive Chairman, Richard Attias & Associates.
Rekha had the honor to present her idea on using sport for social good, in particular using volleyball as a tool to get women and girls to be more than a wife and mother. So inspiring!! Check out her full presentation starting at the 22 minute mark.