Last week, I was in Paris for another City Events conference, at which the focus was on the social responsibility of mega events. While the buzz word around events for the last 20 years has been 'legacy', we tried to unpack this idea a bit and explore further what events can do to make a meaningful contribution to society. I chaired a session which brought together expertise in development, social science, anthropology, officiating, and playing sports.
Some of the interesting ideas were around the role of other role models in sport - such as referees and officials who provide a crucial educative role for young people in understanding the value of rule-keeping. Also, we talked about how sports can contribute to promoting individual rights, especially the rights of the child.
In my summary, I talked about the importance of event organizers looking at the community, talking with it, and understanding what are the most urgent and pressing social issues, so that events can be a vehicle for addressing areas of most need. In the absence of other ideas, this seems a useful process through which to begin any such journey.