Inaugural FIS Seminar Focuses On The Convergence Of Snow Sports And Human Rights

Following up on a request from its members, the International Ski and Snowboard Federation (FIS) organized this week its first-ever human rights seminar in Portorož, Slovenia, where representatives of National Ski Associations (NSAs) from around the world were gathered for the FIS Technical Committee Spring Meetings.

Under the leadership of FIS Integrity Director Sarah Fussek, the FIS integrity and development teams put together a line-up of FIS specialists and expert guest speakers who, over the course of two days, presented analyses of case studies, keynote speeches, and testimonies to delve into topics related to human rights and their application in snow sports. The goal was to stimulate constructive human-centric discussions about safe and fair sports, leadership, development, climate justice, and protection of online spaces.

"The FIS teams across various departments succeeded in bringing together the ski and snowboard community around crucial topics for the development of increasingly inclusive, safe, and responsible snow sports".– Fiona Stevens, FIS Council Member

The invited experts leading the discussions and presenting their findings included Adam Hall, a New Zealand Paralympic alpine skiing World Cup athlete; Mathilde Grenet, founder of the organization "En Garde," specializing in advising sports organizations on safeguarding; Eddie Marshbaum, Head of Sport at Quest, an advisory company specialized in investigations, security, and integrity; and Ken Read, a former Canadian alpine skiing legend and member of the famous "Crazy Canucks" downhill team.

During the first session on Sunday, the external speakers were each accompanied by FIS specialists to lead the discussions, including Alexandra Blum, FIS Development Coordinator; Andrea Rinaldi, FIS Race Director; Sandra Spitz, FIS Sport and Event Director; and Dimitrije Lazarovski, FIS Development Director. This team was complemented by Cornelia Blank, FIS Education Project Manager, and Daniela Lux from UMIT Tirol.

Seminar participants also had the opportunity to hear from David Grevemberg, Chief Innovation and Partnership Officer at the Centre for Sport and Human Rights, and from Gabriela Mueller Mendoza, a specialist in Diversity and Inclusion in sports.

The initiative of organizing such an event stemmed from a survey conducted by FIS with the NSAs, which revealed a clear need and desire to address human rights issues applied to snow sports.

With a tight collaboration across FIS departments – illustrated by the variety of remarks, which also included an opening by FIS Council member Fiona Stevens, as well as speeches by Secretary General Michel Vion and Sustainability Director Susanna Sieff – the seminar took a pre-existing date in the schedule, the Spring Meetings, to create an invaluable occasion to raise awareness, exchange ideas, and foster collaboration across all snow sports disciplines.

"We will continue working towards promoting values that foster a safe, fair, and enjoyable skiing and snowboarding environment for all." – Sarah Fussek, FIS Integrity Director


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