The six-day conference featuring seminars, workshops, roundtables and cultural performances will culminate in a rare meeting of regional Sports Ministers to discuss the action plans drawn up during the event.
Around 700 participants will hear from a wide variety of key-note speakers including FIFA World Cup winner and former Real Madrid star Christian Karembeu. The French footballer, hailing from Lifou in New Caledonia, will open the conference on Monday along with PYASC Chairman Tai Nicholas and Manukau Mayor Len Brown.
CEO Franck Castillo says everything is falling into place for the inaugural conference.
“We are delighted with the quality of speakers who range from high-level sports administrators to a 15-year-old volunteer coach making a real difference in his community,” said Castillo.
Organised by Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) together with the Manukau City Council, PYASC will be based around four central themes including: health; education and capacity building; citizenship and good governance; social integration and anti-discrimination.
Eight representatives from the Football Federation Samoa (FFS) are a part of the Samoan delegation that will attend, including their chaperone, Normalisation Committee member, Rev Laupama Solomona.
FFS Competitions Manager Stefan Szegedi says the delegation is excited and optimistic about the conference.
“Our group have been working hard on our cultural performance for the last two weeks and we look forward to representing Samoa the best we can. It will also be a great opportunity for us meet young people from around the region to share, learn and build networks. The hope is that on our return we will have learnt something new that can be implemented into our own youth and community,” said Szegedi.
Other FFS representatives travelling with Szegedi include: Andrew (Joker) Setefano (Adidas SC); Dominiko Tokuma and Fauivi Malu (Goldstar Sogi FC); Luki Gosche (Moaula United FC); Saini Umutaua (Apia Youth) and Audrey Fruen (Assistant Referee).
Guest speakers will include FIFA Chief Medical Officer Prof. Jiri Dvorak, Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres, Vincent Monnier from the International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES), Special Olympics Regional Managing Director David Rutherford, Jovesa Saladoka from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, and Pacific Aids Foundation’s Joave Nadaudale who will talk about living with HIV in today’s society.
“The conference is about exploring ways in which sport can be used as a vehicle to bring unity and to tackle social challenges all around the Pacific. Topics will be addressed from a youth perspective, with an emphasis on youth participation and youth policies,” said Castillo.
At the completion of the conference, OFC will hold a meeting involving Sports Ministers from across the region who can adopt the strategies that are born during the event.
OFC will be involved in the implementation of new projects with assistance from its supporters FIFA, Manukau City Council, the Australian Government, Fonds du Pacifique, Cuesports Foundation, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Special Olympics, Human Rights Foundation, NZ Aids Foundation, Te Puni Kokiri, Football Federation Australia and NZ Football.