Review of the Martial Arts for African Youth and Women Webinar

For two days, a deep discussion about African youth and women was carried through an online seminar hosted by the UNESCO International Centre of Martial Arts (ICM) in collaboration with the UNESCO Member States in Africa and its National Commissions for UNESCO. With the participation of eleven researchers and experts in sports, women, and martial arts, various topics were discussed.

Mr. PARK Chang Hyun Secretary-General of ICM
Mr. PARK Chang Hyun Secretary-General of ICM

2020 3rd African Martial Arts Web Seminar (Webinar), opened by Mr. PARK Chang Hyun, Secretary-General of ICM emphasized further cooperation to support women and youth in Africa, besides encouraging martial arts research and achieving the ICM mission. 

 Professor Geonsoo Han, in the Keynote Speech, reviewed what ICM has achieved in the last two years, and what should be done for African youth and women in the future. The opening section ended with the Introduction (ICM Video) by Mr. Changhee HAN, the Program Specialist at the international cooperation team, and show the opening of the new ICM building of ICM in the Chonju city republic of Korea.  

Mr. Changhee HAN the Program Specialist at the international cooperation team
Mr. Changhee HAN the Program Specialist at the international cooperation team

Through four sessions, the panelists and the moderator covered various issues. The absence of enough funds for martial arts activities and women and youth was the main issue in Ghana, as Abena Adasa NKRUMAH mentioned. The lack of a national sports policy for Sudan said Mr. Ali Hussien is a crucial issue facing the country, women, and the youth. The poorness of sports infrastructure and the shortage of martial arts facilities were common between Sudan and Ghana.

Professor Eunha CHANG from Korea showed detailed statistics about women’s issues in Asia and Africa, including gender equity on martial arts with some positive impacts of sport for girls. All these topics were discussed In Session one with the title of Current Problems and Challenges of African Youth and Women faced. This session was moderated by Sir Aghan Odero AGAN (Kenya).

Ali Hussen - Sudan
Ali Hussien – Sudan

Session two with the title of The Positive Role of Martial Arts for African Youth and Women, which Chaired by Professor Geonsoo HAN (Korea), the speakers Mr. Saihou KANUTEH (Gambia) and Mr. Sohb Anand DREPAUL (Mauritius), discussed deeply the role of martial for African youth and women in both sides as a physical and social activity, supported with examples of traditional wrestling (Juujuwo) from Gambia and Karate influence on educational and economical, with help of integration within a multicultural community like Mauritius.

The second day of the webinar was inspiring. Session three  Moderated by Mme Thando SIBIYA (South Africa), the title of this session is  Martial Arts Education and Changing Paradigm in Post COVID-19. The first speaker Mr.Kyujin SHIN (Korea) talked about his experience in teaching Taekkyon by highlighting the martial arts values and impact for youth and girls.

The second speaker Mr. Caleb ATEMI (Kenya), started his speech by mentioning domestic violence during the lockdown and girls especially. He tries to give hints on how girls can come over this challenge. Mr. T. ZVOMUYA (Zimbabwe) touched on various topics and connections of the martial arts with the educational system and of African youth and women’s attitudes.

Panelists and moderator for the first season
Panelists and moderator for the first season

Sir Ghonche MATEREGO (Tanzania) chaired the final session of the webinar with the title of Martial Arts as an SDG tool and Future of African Youth and Women. Ms. Cindy Ciyeon RIM (Korea) started with the explanation with SDG goals focusing on how these SDGs are related to martial arts, and ICM can play a role in implementing these goals.

Mr. David TWABAZE (Uganda) talks about traditional martial arts’ future role with examples from various African countries concerning SDG  for African women and youth. Mr. Evans Omueri ORURU (Kenya) went deeply into the philosophical aspects of martial arts and how to influence youth and women’s lives and sustain martial arts leaders’ efforts.

The last speaker at this webinar, Mr. Michael Shamsu Mustapha (Sierra Leone), came with many suggestions and ideas that may help apply SDG through martial arts, which should be reviewed carefully because it can be applied with the importance to build partnerships.

Ms. Cindy Ciyeon RIM (Korea)
Ms. Cindy Ciyeon RIM (Korea)

The 2020 3rd African Martial Arts Web Seminar (Webinar)  helped to increase understanding of the current status of African youth and women and acknowledged its challenges from the school and their life. The webinar also enhanced the visibility of martial arts for African youth development and women engagement and the necessity of martial arts education in Africa.

The event strongly diagnosed the current martial arts activities and discussed a new paradigm of the Martial arts education system in Post COVID-19 period in Africa and how SDG can be implemented through martial arts.

In the end, most of the speakers agreed that an important role is expected to be done by the International Centre of Martial Arts for Youth Development and Engagement under the auspices of UNESCO.

About the author

Ali Hussien
Co-founder & CEO of 3S Sports Services Sudan
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