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- Andrii Vorontsov
Martial Arts Research Initiative for Experts (MARIE) foregathers young martial arts professionals to take part in educational programs with aim to encourage research and knowledge sharing. The 3rd MARIE included six participants from six countries(Brazil, Chinga, Germany, Ghana, Jordan, Ukraine). The below writing was written by Ukraine participant after the program :
As a young professional in the field of high-performance sports and a person caring about the future of our planet and society, I was extremely enthusiastic to take part in the third MARIE program, which was organized by UNESCO ICM. This opportunity helped me broaden my horizon in the area of interconnectedness between martial arts and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were recently stated by the United Nations in 2015.
From the perspective of a wrestling practitioner who has worked as an athlete and coach, and is working as a manger in the field of sport development, I have never thought about the importance of sports or general physical activity as a powerful tool for social development. MARIE program allowed me to see things from different perspectives and completely changed my mindset from being a general consumer of sport to being a contributor. I now understand that any sort of physical activity can affect all area of our lives and more importantly the world in general. Therefore, I strongly believe that programs like MARIE must be organized and multiplied by its quantity all around the world to deliver messages to the younger generation for the sake of our society and future generations. It is with regret, I have to acknowledge, that WE are facing big challenges and it is essential to seek for effective solutions.
Prior to visiting Korea for the MARIE program, I did not have any specific knowledge about martial arts and its value. After spending a month with knowledgeable and passionate people, I was able to familiarize myself with different types of martial arts and better understand their philosophy. Eye-opening experience was acquaintance with traditional martial arts, which completely differ from high-performance combat sports that have competitive elements. Sometimes, it is easy to lose spiritual and moral parts while practicing sports, even though they still exist. MARIE program helped me understand that different types of activities ensure inclusiveness and provide opportunities FOR ALL. I was amazed to discover things that are related to SDG’s and how martial arts can influence them heavily. From now on, in my further work I will be highlighting things such as: gender equality, quality education, economic benefits of physical activity, inclusiveness and things related to preserving our planet for future generations. Because of MARIE program, I realized this can be easily done through understanding these issues and simple actions, which will deliver this message to masses.
In addition, it is also worth to mention that MARIE program gathers people from different backgrounds with different mindsets. This strategy ensures diversity, which is key to promote critical thinking and opportunity to see things from different perspectives. I am sure that all participants will stay in touch forever and our network will grow even further.
My goal from now on is to spread the knowledge, gained throughout MARIE program to my colleagues and other stakeholders. It is our common mission to MAKE THIS WORLD BETTER THAN TODAY. Through martial arts and all other types of physical activity, WE can definitely make it happen.
I am grateful to UNESCO ICM and all its staff members for providing such a great opportunity. It was a lifetime experience, which not only changed my life, but will change lives of others in longer run.