Pacific Connect and Pacific Sports Partnerships collaborate on Virtual Dialogue


ICDP Pacific Connect Virtual Dialogue on technology and sport held in collaboration with Pacific Sports Partnerships

The International Centre for Democratic Partnerships (ICDP) brought together 50 emerging and established leaders from seven countries to discuss opportunities to create technology-based solutions in sport across the Pacific. Participants from Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Fiji took part in the Virtual Dialogue from Community Hubs to foster in-person networking, while participants from Australia and across the world joined online. The half-day talanoa (inclusive storytelling and idea sharing event) was run in collaboration with Pacific Sports Partnerships, the Australian Government’s flagship sport for development program, which is implemented by GHD.

The talanoa-style Pacific Connect event saw participants listen to and engage with leaders in the sporting industry, experts in sports technology and industry funders from across the Pacific, Australia, and the world. In the first session, delegates heard from three leaders working at the forefront of sport and sport technology innovation in the region:

  • Sport in PNG: Ms Auvita Rapilla, Secretary General, PNG Olympic Committee
  • Sport in Fiji: Mr Peter Mazey, Executive Chairman, Fiji National Sports Commission
  • Insights into emergent sport technology: Ms Nicole Pensko, Head of Australia/NZ Partnerships, Catapult Sports

Following the presentations and a Q&A session, participants began collaborating to develop ideas about how technology-based solutions could strengthen the Pacific sport sector, including through a regional sport administration database and support system, educational gaming content for Pacific youth, and an online communications hub for sport industry stakeholders. Participants will continue engaging with each other through the Pacific Connect program to progress development of their projects.

Ben Howard, Program Manager of Pacific Sports Partnerships, said of the Dialogue: “When we were first approached (by ICDP) I was really excited by the opportunity. I think COVID-19 has seen the region embrace technology, firstly out of necessity, but after today’s exchange of ideas we have seen even more enthusiasm about the potential of technology to strengthen the Pacific sport sector, and this might yet prove to be one of the positives to come out of this pandemic.”

Simone Pensko, CEO, ICDP said: “It was great to partner with PSP to help participants work together to apply technology solutions to enhance sport at all levels in the Pacific. We look forward to more opportunities to work with PSP in 2021 to continue the same.”

Pacific Connect was launched by the Prime Minister of Australia in September 2017 to forge stronger, strategic-level relationships between Pacific and Australian leaders across the public, private and community sectors. ICDP has designed a program of activities to promote collaboration and business opportunities between Australia and the Pacific in applying digital technology to support sustainable development, with a focus on women and entrepreneurs.

Pacific Sports Partnerships is funded by the Australian Government across six Pacific countries. Through grassroots sports activities delivered in partnership by Pacific and Australian sporting and non-sporting organisations the program seeks to address inequalities experienced by women, girls and people with disability. From 2021 onwards, the program will fund both sports partnerships and strategic partnerships to strengthen the sector.

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