CUHK hosts the International Symposium of the Jockey Club “Sports without Limits” Youth Empowerment Programme and ASAPE 2022 Hong Kong
The Chinese University of Hong Kong’s (CUHK) Department of Sports Science and Physical Education (SSPE), which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, hosted and inaugurated the first ever virtual “International Symposium of the Jockey Club ‘Sports without Limits’ Youth Empowerment Programme and ASAPE 2022 Hong Kong” in Asia on 4 August. Funded by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, this international symposium, co-organised by the Asian Society for Adapted Physical Education and Exercise (ASAPE) and supported by the Hong Kong Physical Education Teachers Society, attracted more than 550 scholars, researchers, educators, and practitioners worldwide to discuss the role of adapted physical activity (APA) and adapted sports in the promotion of the health and well-being of students with disabilities, and share cutting-edge research and practice on APA across disciplines.
This three-day symposium began with a welcome address by CUHK Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Rocky S. Tuan at the opening ceremony. He said, “On behalf of CUHK, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust and the Education Bureau for empowering us to fulfil our vision and ambition to achieve ‘Excellence with Purpose and Responsibility’. We teach, research and innovate to create social impact, and we take on the social responsibility to serve the well-being of the citizens of Hong Kong, our nation and beyond. Since its launch in 2019, the Jockey Club ‘Sports Without Limits’ Youth Empowerment Programme has already benefited over 900 teachers and more than 4,000 students and their families from 29 local special schools. It is our firm belief that only by collaboration can we emerge stronger from the multiple global challenges that humankind is currently facing.”
Officiating at the opening ceremony, Ms Michelle Li Mei-sheung, JP, Permanent Secretary for Education, Education Bureau, Hong Kong SAR Government, said, “This international symposium will serve as a platform for scholars, researchers, educators and practitioners from all over the world to share their high-quality, impactful research in adapted physical activity. We believe that this research can further inspire educational strategies and initiatives, in order to broaden opportunities for students with special educational needs to develop their potential and well-being through physical activity.” She added that Hong Kong attaches great importance to education, sport for all and social inclusion, noting that these three priorities are enshrined in the “Sports without Limits” Youth Empowerment Programme.
Mr Sam Loni, Programme Director, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and Founder and Director, Global Schools, said, “Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is a critical framework to prepare students for the greatest challenges of the 21st century while also empowering them to shape more sustainable and prosperous communities. This is why we need to scale ESD efforts rapidly and widely. Global Schools is pleased to partner with the Jockey Club “Sports Without Limits” Youth Empowerment Programme to integrate ESD concepts and pedagogies into APA professional training that can benefit educators who work with students with disabilities.”
Dr Gabriel Matthew Leung, GBS, JP, Executive Director, Charities and Community, Hong Kong Jockey Club, said the pandemic has reminded us how important physical activity is. He paid tribute to the CUHK team and SDSN for making the virtual International Symposium possible. He added as one of the top ten charitable donors in the world, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust places strong emphasis on sports as a way to promote physical and mental well-being, as well as to help disadvantaged groups overcome barriers and challenges. Dr Leung said over the past decades, the Trust has partnered with local and global academia to leverage their expertise, echoing the Club’s purpose of acting continuously for the betterment of society.
Professor Cindy Sit Hui-ping, Chairperson of CUHK SSPE and the Organising Committee of the International Symposium, and President of ASAPE, said, “This International Symposium is one of the events of the Jockey Club “Sports without Limits” Youth Empowerment Programme and the 30th anniversary of CUHK SSPE. The programme aligns with the Education Bureau’s recent initiative of encouraging children and adolescents to get the daily 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA60) recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). We found that through our programme, students with disabilities improved their self-confidence and quality of life, and physical education teachers increased their knowledge and competence in APA and adapted sports. The symposium covers a wide range of APA-related topics and research, contributing innovative, insightful knowledge to the field. The research implications enable educators and professionals to create a better sporting environment for students with disabilities.”