Assistant Minister for Youth and Sports

Conference Room, Nasoqo House Monday
Suva 31 July 2017

The Director Youth, Sports and Business Development
Ministry officials
Fiji delegation to the SOS Festival for the Future
Ladies and Gentlemen

Bula vinaka and good morning to you all.

Thank you all for making it to this event this morning.

I wish to congratulate those of you selected to represent Fiji to the ‘Festival of the Future’ to be held in Auckland, New Zealand next weekend. You were selected as the best candidates from 97 applicants. The Ministry of Youth and Sports, in partnership with the Spirit of Sharing, hopes that your peers, organisations, and the country will benefit immensely when you return.

I wish to also remind you that SOS is commited to enhance the lives of young people in the region. Their programs connect young people, men and women, in projects that will guide their engagement in their different communities.

The ‘Festival of the Future’ will bring together young people from countries including NZ, Australia, India and USA. It will be an opportune time to connect with your peers, innovators and practitioners and explore issues pertaining to youth development. I hope you will be inspired by their experiences and that you will bring with you best practices to influence your peers back home. I also hope that you will share your experiences with them as it must be a two-way communication and learning process. The three-day Festival will be packed with high-level seminars, motivational conferences, sharing of issues tangible to youths.

Since 2010, SOS has distributed sporting materials and a range of donated items including medical equipment to rural areas like Taveuni, Ra, and Tailevu. In 2013, SOS brought Australia’s first Cultural Exchange to Fiji involving more than 5000 Fijian and Australian school children, school leavers and youths in celebrating each other’s culture through song, dance, food and sport. 80 schools have participated in the exchange program and received sports equipment worth $1000 each donated by Australian students.

SOS, through its programs and donations, has certainly promoted physical activity and sports and we hope that Fijians will continue to realise the importance of adopting a physically active lifestyle. Sports is an effective agent for social cohesion. Sport helps youths to become better contributors to society. Young people’s involvement in sport helps you to improve your social interaction, increase your confidence, and improve your listening skills, confidence and health. It allows students and young people, indeed older people too, to improve their skills and learn new ones, become fit, and find “success”.

Sport also has a positive impact on anti-social behaviour, youth violence and crime and can be used as a diversion from crime or as a “hook” to bring participants into a wider and more productive range of activities. Sports or physical activity must be promoted as they give young people valuable experience in learning basic motor skills as well as in social integration, moral and social development and the joy of movement and exploration.

The Ministry hopes that you will maximise this opportunity to mix and mingle, form friendships and establish new networks with international friends. Ensure you learn from their success stories which will contribute to your growth as representatives of every Fijian youths. Go and be inspired, and return with determination to make changes, take action and foster a future you desire for you and your peers – but please also behave as we would expect of disciplined youth representing Fiji.

I extend to you the best wishes of the Minister for Youth and Sports Honourable Laisenia Tuitubou and the whole Ministry.

Vinaka vakalevu, Dhanyavad, Shokran and thank you all very much.

--- ENDS ---