The Honourable J.C. Stephan Toussaint and Professor Richard Giulianotti shaking hands

(L-R) the Honourable J.C. Stephan Toussaint and Professor Richard Giulianotti. Image provided by Adam Rance / United Through Sport.

Loughborough UNESCO Chair meets Minister and other leading sport policymakers in Mauritius

Loughborough University’s Professor Richard Giulianotti has met with the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Recreation, and other leading policymakers and key stakeholders in sport in Mauritius, during a recent research visit to the island.    

Professor Giulianotti, who leads the UNESCO Chair in Sport, Physical Activity and Education for Development at Loughborough University, held talks with the Minister, the Honourable J.C. Stephan Toussaint, as well as top officials at the Ministry of Education, Tertiary Education, Science and Technology, the Mauritius Sports Council, the Mauritius Institute of Education, the Mauritius Olympic Committee, and the Côte d’Or National Sports Complex. 

Discussion topics at the meetings included current and future sport policy and development strategies in Mauritius, the role of sport and physical activity in improving health and social inclusion, and opportunities for future collaborative work. As the Minister put it, the Mauritian government is committed to creating ‘healthier citizens, happier communities and a stronger nation’.

All meetings were kindly arranged by United Through Sport (UTS), a leading non-governmental organisation (NGO) which undertakes sport development work on the island.

“I greatly appreciated the generous giving of time, knowledge and insight by the Honourable Stephan Toussaint, and many leading officials,” said Professor Giulianotti.

“They showed a very strong commitment to sport development and youth empowerment in Mauritius. The UTS team did a fantastic job in organising my visits, and they’ll make a key contribution to future sport development on the island.”

The meetings were a central part of a research visit to investigate sport development and sport policy on Mauritius. Several site visits were also undertaken to sport facilities and events, including to the Pointe Jerome Youth Training Centre, hosted by the Minister, and to the Côte d’Or National Sport Complex, the Red Bull Half-Court Basketball Challenge, and the University of Mauritius sports hall.

A significant research focus was on the extensive work of UTS, which delivers sport and physical activity programmes and sessions to young people, particularly in areas of relative deprivation, with support from local and international volunteers. 

Darren Taylor of UTS commented: "We are committed to the holistic development of each of our participants, focusing on their health, education and personal development. Our programs improve education outcomes, raise health awareness, promote gender equality and build life-skills.

“Sport and physical activity sessions provide a positive environment for youth to steer towards a healthy lifestyle and our coaches build communication confidence in children. In Mauritius our coaches support existing sports and physical activity activators, in education, sports clubs and federations of sport. We are at the front line of international sports development and our mission is to transform lives through sport!"

Professor Giulianotti’s visit was further supported by Research England, and by Dr Mark Edwards, an educational consultant based in Mauritius.