#BeInclusive Awards : the fourth edition goes online !
On 1 December, Sport and Citizenship followed the 2020 #BeInclusive Awards, a special prize and recognition launched by the former European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth, and Sport, four years ago. The award intended to recognize the three best European projects that implement inclusion initiatives for disadvantaged groups through sport at grassroots level.
Honey Thaljieh, former captain of the Palestinian football team, moderated the gala that for the first time was held in an online format. European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Mariya Gabriel pointed out future steps and achievements the European Commission has reached so far in the field of sport. The response to the pandemic, the 2021-2027 Erasmus+ programme with a EUR 2.2 billion increased budget, and the 2021-2027 EU Work Plan for Sport.
Inclusion through sport, as also underlined by Sabine Verheyen (Chair of the CULT Committee, European Parliament) is and has always been a pillar of European sport policy. Ms. Verheyen further underlined the Parliament’s future sport priorities: strengthening sport as a tool for social inclusion and supporting grassroots sport organisations in their recovery from the pandemic. Stephan Mayer (Parliamentary State Secretary to the German Federal Minister of the Interior) reflected on the role of sport as a vector to create a sense of community and belonging that leads to more inclusion and participation for all.
After the opening words, Honey Thaljieh introduced the 9 finalists and their projects. The latter come from the four corners of Europe, utilize a variety of sport and, target different groups- yet, they all strive for the same common goal: fostering social inclusion. The event proceeded with winners from past years who shared their experiences and explained how winning the Award has impacted their projects and their work. Finally, Commissioner Gabriel announced the results that this year reward Surf.ART (Portugal), Integrative Championship – Include and Integrate (Poland), and Ovale Citoyen (France).
In sport competitions there is always a winner. Nonetheless, as Honey Thaljieh remarked, when it comes to inclusion through sport and the projects that across Europe aim to increase social inclusion for disadvantaged groups, we are all winners !