Kennesaw State partners with UN agency to foster social change through sports

Officials from Kennesaw State University journeyed to Athens‚ Greece in mid−September…

Georgia (Oct 3, 2004) — Kennesaw State partners with UN agency to foster social change through sports

Frances Weyand


Contact: Frances Weyand‚ Director of University Relations‚ 770−423−6203 or

Officials from Kennesaw State University journeyed to Athens‚ Greece in mid−September for high−level meetings intended to formalize plans for implementation of a three−year partnership with the International Labour Office. The aim of this collaboration is to promote international development and social change by building a curriculum focused on leadership through sports.

With the 2004 Paralympic Games serving as the backdrop‚ Dr. Richard Sowell‚ dean of the WellStar College of Health and Human Services‚ and Mike Spino‚ director of international sport education‚ hammered out the final details of the arrangement with Dr. Giovanni diCola‚ representative of sport and development at the ILO — a specialized agency of the United Nations.

Through this partnership‚ Kennesaw State becomes part of the ILO program known as “Universitas‚” which links universities‚ governments and local agencies around the world in a concerted effort to promote local human development. Specifically‚ KSU becomes an active partner in the ILO’s “Youth Sport Program‚” and will participate in related meetings on sports and development throughout the world.

“We are going to process the information from the field work that’s being done into a viable curriculum‚ and then eventually‚ we’re going to have our own curriculum where people come to Kennesaw State to study how to be involved in this type of leadership program‚” Spino explained.

Spino is very excited about this partnership‚ and the potential it has to bring together groups and organizations that have never worked together before. By combining their resources‚ and using a common framework‚ the potential for change is tremendous‚ whether it’s through an exhibition soccer match to benefit HIV/AIDS research or a youth sports program that brings together children from traditionally warring countries in an attempt to bridge age−old cultural divides.

“For many years‚ I have been working with coaches from underdeveloped countries‚” Spino said. “During that time‚ I have observed first−hand how much influence they have within their local communities‚ influence that goes far beyond developing world−class athletes to take part in the Olympics or other international competitions.”

It is Spino’s intention‚ and that of the “Universitas” program‚ to use the influence enjoyed by these local sports figures to help fulfill the “Millennium Goals‚” a far−reaching outline set down by the United Nations that counts among its objectives the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger‚ universal primary education‚ gender equality and stemming the tide of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

“The idea‚” Spino said‚ “is that in these local communities‚ sports leaders can be the catalyst for social change. They are a tremendous resource‚ just waiting to be tapped."


Kennesaw State University is a comprehensive‚ residential institution with a growing student population of 18‚000 from 129 countries. The third largest state university out of 34 institutions in the University System of Georgia‚ KSU offers more than 55 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit