Tuesday, March 25, 2014

An Evolving Conversation Around Sports & Education

I was given the opportunity to deliver the keynote address and moderate a panel discussion at the Economic Times Future of Learning Conference hosted at the Plaza Hotel in Vasant Kunj. The topic was entitled, “Education through Sport,” was one which I’m extremely passionate about given the fact that education and sport have been constant themes in my life since I was 4 years of age.

I put together a panel of friends who also happen to be influencers in the education through sport industry: Yannick Colaco (Managing Director – NBA India), Saumil Majmudar (Founder, Edusports), MA Ashit (Head of Sports, The Heritage School) and Sujit Panigrahi (Founder, Fitness365). The room was full of administers, teachers, principals and others representing the industry and I was not quite sure how receptive they would be to the “sports” conversation however I was excited to have the opportunity to share my story and moderate a discussion with other experts in the field.

The 1.5 hour session was thrilling (yes I know how sad it is that I’m calling a panel discussion “thrilling”). As I was delivering the keynote, I became more and more clear about the fact that my whole education was guided and enhanced through sport: elementary and middle school sports, High School sports committee, minor in Sports Management, countless internships with sports companies, MBA in Sports Management and long stints in NYC and now Delhi where sport served and serves as the primary purpose of my engagement with these places. At 34 years of age I can proudly say that I’m a shining example of how the power of sport can shape an individual.

The best part of the session was when one of the members of the audience asked a question to the panel about what to do if her son wants to play sport instead of study.  MA Ashit brilliantly put the question back to the audience which led to a 25 minute interactive conversation where it became clear to me that the collective conscious of an important sector within Indian society (educators) are becoming more open to the idea that sport can actually contribute to a child’s education vs. detract from it. 

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