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Professor Offers Insights into Sports & Peace in Afghanistan

Lisa Delpy Neirotti

Lisa Delpy Neirotti, associate professor of sport management, had a message for Afghan youth:  join hands on the playing field and don’t forget those bonds when the game’s over.

During a recent visit to Sochi, Russia – site of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games – Delpy Neirotti was interviewed by the president of Afghanistan’s National Olympic Committee, who is also a general in that country’s army.

U.S. troops are fighting insurgents in Afghanistan and training Afghan security forces as part of a NATO-led security mission in the country. U.S. troops are scheduled to withdraw by 2014 and turn the country’s security over to national forces.

Delpy Neirotti said members of an Afghan delegation heard a presentation she made in Sochi about incorporating the values of fair play, friendship, international understanding, and the pursuit of excellence in sport programs.  They asked her to make a statement directed at the youth of their country following her presentation.

“I said although I have no direct experience with what is happening in Afghanistan, that my heart goes out to everyone in the country, and that I encourage youth to join hands on the playing field and remember the common love of sport and similarities when they leave the field,” she said.

She said she also encouraged them “to train hard in sport, and highlighted that elite athletes are ambassadors of the country who travel around the world to compete with others who share similar passions.”

Afghanistan has a long history of sporting events.  The national sport of buzkashi, in which teams on horseback try to keep control of a headless goat carcass, is popular, as are soccer and cricket.

Delpy Neirotti got a surprise when she told her Afghan interviewers about World Wrestling Entertainment’s “Be a Star” anti-bullying program for teachers, students, and parents.

“Turns out that people in Afghanistan really like WWE, and before I knew it, they wanted me to help them bring WWE over to Afghanistan,” Delpy Neirotti said.  “They said WWE could make money, as people are willing to pay up to $100 per ticket.”



Posted by gwsb on November 6, 2012 | Filed under: GWSB News.

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