JEDDAH: Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, president of the Saudi Arabia Olympic Committee (SAOC) and chair of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) Education Committee, on Thursday presented his vision of increasing education opportunities through sports.
At the inaugural virtual meeting of the OCA Education Committee chaired by the prince, the committee’s role in supporting education initiatives was highlighted as Asia looked to recover from COVID-19.
Since the start of the pandemic, the SAOC has drawn on the power of the Olympic spirit to lead digital education programs and inspire Saudis to stay active and engage in online learning initiatives.
Following the successful SAOC-led #StayAtHome campaign, the SAOC president proposed increasing the implementation of online learning opportunities throughout Asia.
He has prioritized implementing the Olympic Values Education Program in Saudi Arabia to communicate the benefits of sport to society.
Despite being postponed due to coronavirus, the Saudi Games platform has been harnessed to launch initiatives including the Saudi Arabian Olympic Academy to provide young athletes with the facilities to excel.
The OCA Education Committee is a platform for Asia’s sporting leaders to share knowledge and promote dialogue between member nations and National Olympic Committees (NOCs). The committee is working to ensure that all parts of society are provided with the learning resources they need to increase opportunities for sports to contribute to the development of education throughout the region.
In his opening address, Prince Abdul Aziz said: “During these difficult times as Asia and the rest of the world endeavors to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is vitally important that the OCA Education Committee continues to support the educational development of young people.
Chairing the first virtual meeting of the Education Committee has been a priority following the postponement of the Saudi Games and displays an innovative spirit we can all embrace.”
The OCA Education Committee could play a crucial role as online education and e-learning opportunities became the norm in many member nations, he added. “With solidarity and social purpose as key values, a committed and coordinated approach, increased resources, and Asia’s combined skills and knowledge, the Education Committee can provide new Olympic education opportunities.”
Education should be integrated in all activities with support from strategic and commercial partners as they represented important channels for sharing Olympic values, he told the forum.
He congratulated OCA members and their NOCs for leading inspirational educational activities, including webinars and training courses. Asian NOCs had demonstrated their powerful capabilities in delivering these initiatives and it was now time to unite these efforts to reach out to our wider communities, he said.
“Saudi Arabia is a committed supporter of the Olympic Movement, the OCA and sport throughout Asia and the SAOC has remained in close contact with our communities during the #StayAtHome phase. The power of Olympism has inspired tens of thousands of Saudis to #StayActive, connected, and continuously engaged with our Olympic educational content.”
With the prince at the virtual meeting were Maxwell De Silva, vice chair of the OCA Education Committee and secretary-general of Sri Lanka’s NOC; Mazen Fawzi Ramadan, chief of mission of the Lebanese delegation at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games; Ada Jaffery, deputy secretary of the Women Sports Commission at the Pakistan Olympic Association; Dr. Khaled Atiyat, vice president of the Jordan Olympic Committee and secretary-general at the Fencing Confederation of Asia; Saif Mohammed Al Naemi, executive director of the Qatar Olympic Academy; Dr. Nibal Khalil, vice president of the Palestine Olympic Committee; Fazlollah Bagherzadeh, vice president of the Iranian NOC; Feng Gao, representing China, and Young Hwa Son, representing