Aspen Sports & Society Program / Joacă Pentru Viaţă
Joacă pentru Viaţă Program, inspired by Project Play Aspen US, is an exercise of reflection for leaders, aiming to stimulate involvement, promote a platform for non-partisan dialogue and identify solutions that help sport serve the public interest, with a focus on the development of healthy children and communities.
The Public Policy Programs of the Aspen Institute Romania seek to improve the formation of policy through transparent, non-partisan, evidence-based, multiple stakeholders’ dialogue. Based on the Aspen Method, our programs offer public decision-makers, private stakeholders and representatives of the non-governmental and academic sectors an exceptional platform for reflection, aiming to reach consensus on concrete policy recommendations in Romania’s most relevant policy fields. By engaging with public decision-makers from the start of the reflection process, in an informal and informed dialogue, mutual ownership of our policy recommendations is fostered.
Available data indicate the need to adopt measures supporting children to practice sport and physical activities. Scientific research shows decreasing worldwide sport participation and physical activity rates, while daily more and more time is spent on electronic devices, watching TV, surfing the internet and playing video games. Statistics show that 63% of the Romanian population never exercise or play sport, the 4th highest ranking among EU countries.
There is an evident need to support the healthy development of children and to prevent physical inactivity and obesity, factors which increase the risk of occurrence of cardio-vascular diseases, diabetes, orthopedic injuries and reduce the quality of life, putting individuals’ lives at risk and a burden on health budgets and the economy. The Romanian society needs to increase its awareness regarding the importance of physical literacy of children, a term defined as the ability, confidence and desire to be active for life, based on the proven connection between the development of motor skills at an early age and habits of physical activity through adolescence and into adulthood.
Joacă pentru Viaţă seeks to improve the formation of policy through transparent, non-partisan, evidence-based, multiple stakeholders’ dialogue. The main objective of our program is to initiate by 2020 a process of physical literacy development of the Romanian children between 5 and 12 years, aiming to stimulate their ability, confidence and desire to be active for life.
The public policy recommendations made within this program aim to:
- Increase the opportunities to practice sport and physical activities through better access to appropriate facilities, also from socially disadvantaged environments;
- Recognize physical literacy as a national priority;
- Raise the attractiveness of sport among children.
The program is organized in partnership with the Romanian Olympic and Sports Committee, the Romanian Professional Soccer League, the Romanian Sports Institute and the National Physical Education and Sport University of Bucharest.
The program is supported by the Romanian Presidential Administration, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Administration, the Health Commissions in the Romanian Parliament, local authorities, sports federations and media organizations.
We are honored to benefit from the valuable support of international sports legends like Nadia Comăneci (five time Olympic champion), Mircea Lucescu (former Captain and Coach of the Romanian National Soccer Team) and Gheorghe Hagi (former Captain of the Romanian National Soccer Team, named in the World Cup All-Star Team of World Cup 1994), and active sport personalities like Mihaela Buzărnescu (professional tennis player, No. 20 highest WTA ranking) and Ana Bogdan (professional tennis player, No. 59 highest WTA ranking).
Program Launching Event, December 2017 Thematic Workshop, June 2018
Deliverables by mid-2019
Since December 2017, together with our program partners we managed to:
- Create a dedicated and engaged Program Community, consisting of multiple stakeholders from the public, private, non-governmental and academic sectors;
- Establish a dedicated Program Task Force, identifying the program’s priorities and preparing policy recommendations;
- Organize three workshops largely covered by the media, attended by key public decision makers, private stakeholders, Romanian sport personalities and Olympic federations representatives:
- The Program Launching Event, organized at the premises of the Romanian Olympic and Sports Committee;
- The Thematic Workshop “Solutions for a Fit and Healthy Romania”, which debated the need for improved sports infrastructure;
- The Thematic Workshop “Active through sport: a chance which cannot be refused to the Romanian children”
Joacă pentru Viaţă Summit, 25 – 26 September 2019
Organized in partnership with Aspen Institute US, the first edition of the Summit aims to generate support for the adoption of a National Physical Activity Plan and to confirm physical activity as a national priority for Romania. A Joacă pentru Viaţă 2022 dedicated community will contribute to the creation of an annual national State of Play report and the dissemination of tools, frameworks, metrics and best practices in Romania and beyond.
The Summit will draw on the important success of the Project Play Summits organized in Washington and Detroit by the Aspen Institute United States and will involve the Aspen Institutes in France, Japan and Italy (countries hosting the next Olympic Games), aiming to transform Project Play in a global initiative.