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February 16, 2012
WASHINGTON, DC, February 16, 2012 — Paul Tagliabue, former National Football League Commissioner and longtime Covington partner and senior counsel, presented the opening remarks at the U.S. Agency for International Development’s “Bow Tie Friday: Sport as a Catalyst for International Development” event on Feb. 10th in Washington, D.C.
The panel focused on how sport is used as an innovative and effective tool in international development and public engagement, and a universal language that inspires social change around the world. The participants discussed the role of sports and athletes in addressing the global development challenges.
Mr. Tagliabue urged participants to embrace difference and innovation, share their experience and learn from other cultures, develop trust and confidence, and help empower others to serve their societies -- all goals that can be advanced through sport.
“To succeed in the 21st Century, you will be required to get out in the fields and the streets, and engage directly with people in unfamiliar places - both here in America and abroad,” Mr. Tagliabue said. “…You will need a game plan, as we say in football. It’s up to each of us now to participate fully, to lead and to ensure continued human progress in the new 21st Century global environment.”
The name of the event, "Bow Tie Friday," refers to the bow tie that USAID's Famine War Draught Campaign created with BowTieCause.org to raise awareness for the crisis in the Horn of Africa.
“USAID has long used sport as a cross-cutting platform to accomplish international development goals in health, nutrition, education, conflict mitigation and gender equality,” Mori Taheripour, USAID’s senior advisor for Sport for Development, said. “Commissioner Tagliabue’s participation in Bow Tie Friday was a powerful validation of the work we are doing to harness the power of sport as a catalyst for global development.”
In addition to Mr. Tagliabue, the panelists included the Green Bay Packers’ Greg Jennings, former NFL linebacker and founder of BowTieCause.org Dhani Jones, and Phil de Picciotto, founder & president Octagon, Inc.; political sportswriter Dave Zirin moderated the discussion.