Guest speakers from the International University Network: a brief introduction
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In accordance with its core mission, CIES is proposing two to three conferences in the context of each FIFA/CIES Programme in sport management organised by its academic partners. Their goal is to give an international 'flavour' to the courses focusing chiefly on local and regional needs and realities. These conferences also encourage an exchange of experiences and expose students to new and practical concepts that can enrich and further professionalize sport management at the national level.

The list of speakers selected from the International University Network currently comprises around 50 professors and experts in fields closely related to those of the programme syllabus (law, marketing, communication, event management, strategic planning, etc.). These lecturers represent diverse sports entities (FIFA, IOC, CAS, EPFL, etc.), or enterprises specialising in the domain of sports. With a view to expanding our students' horizons, CIES also wishes to actively involve participants from sectors other than management per se (sport and disability, history, development through sport, sport and racism, sport and violence, etc.).

The success of these international conferences among students is encouraging, as demonstrated by their positive online assessments after each lecture. The most appreciated aspects include the speaker's level of expertise, the overall usefulness of the lecture (for students' professional lives), the addressed topics, the balance between theory and practice, the relevance of the cited examples, and finally the high degree of interaction between the participating lecturers and their audience.

One of CIES's main objectives over the years to come will be to increase the number of experts directly associated with FIFA, to diversify and enhance the conference topics proposed to the universities, and to strengthen exchanges between academic partners. 

Guillermo Ricaldoni
Marketing & Commercial Director
Sports & Entertainment, IMG Argentina
"It is not only a point of pride, but also a great responsibility to be able to contribute to the education of the sports managers of tomorrow, as well as to support the further professionalization of the world of sports. At all the universities where I have participated in conferences, I have observed very strong dedication by the FIFA/CIES Programme coordinators, in addition to an enormous thirst for leaning among the students. The programme has also provided many amusing surprises, like that one time in Costa Rica… Wandering around in my suit and tie I ran into two students playing rugby in the university sports complex. After a brief chat with them, I set out to teach them a few technical tricks for about 40 minutes… What an unforgettable experience!"

Omar Ongaro
Head of Players’ Status and Governance
Division of Legal Affairs at FIFA

"The world of sports law and management is developing at high speed and is becoming more and more complex. In order to keep the pace, only well prepared specialists with a solid background in this specific field of activity will meet the necessary prerequisites for a successful career... The FIFA/CIES Programme offers the right platform to young people willing to enter the field of sports law and management... Thanks to a series of specialised international lecturers coming from various sides of the sport structures and thus tackling the key issues from different angles, the students obtain an extensively diversified insight of the material... Over the past years I was fortunate and privileged to have had the great opportunity to participate as a guest speaker in the programme (in Costa Rica and South Africa), but also in the framework of the 'FIFA Master'... I enjoy the interaction with the students very much, and have found them to be well prepared, open and motivated. Besides interesting intellectual and purely technical exchanges, what indeed always fascinates me is the experience of meeting young people of different cultures and to hear about their ambitions and expectations. Furthermore, they are often able to bring closer to my understanding their local realities – problems and good working practices – with regard to the game. The global Network that the CIES has elaborated, allowing young people all over the world to gain experience and know-how about the way sports in general and football in particular is governed and managed, is certainly an important contribution to the education and establishment of the 'next generation' of sports managers."

Rory Steyn
General Manager - Africa
Nicholls Steyn and Associates

"It is indeed a privilege to take part in the FIFA/CIES Programme as a security expert. In this regard, I greatly appreciated the enthusiasm shown by students at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa and the University of Cairo in Egypt, as well as their ability to interact with the speakers and between themselves. As for the programme, congratulations to FIFA! The knowledge and experience acquired by the students on the basis of the presented case studies, practical exercises and in workshops are indeed beneficial for their future careers as sports managers. Of course we all know how the sports world needs top drawer professionals, especially nowadays. What is my recommendation? The universities should focus even more closely on the various security and safety aspects in the context of the event management module. Current news reports frequently remind us of the importance of this issue."

Jair Emanuel Bertoni
Head of Cabinet
European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL)

"The FIFA/CIES Programme gives me the opportunity to share my knowledge of professional football with extremely dedicated students, young people who possess all the dynamism and qualities they will need to help improve the world of football and other sports sectors in their respective countries, whether in Egypt, Chile, Argentina or Spain. But on a more personal level I have also learned how to attentively listen what participants in the programme have to say. Their opinions on the different cultural and environmental factors influencing local sports unquestionably enrich the debate. Another strong point of this programme is the sense of hospitality shown by the directors and organisers of the courses... As for the students, they are always more than eager to absorb the information we offer them and invariably reflect on how they can implement this newly acquired new knowledge in practical terms, in addition to applying the best possible methods within their own sports organisations at the national and international levels... I am convinced that both FIFA and CIES have a genuine understanding of the diversity of needs of the sports industry on the different continents. To sum up, the FIFA/CIES Programme can be perfectly defined in just four words: teaching, discussing, listening and learning."