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Dr Denise Barrett-Baxendale MBE, Executive Chair at Everton in the Community, will join leaders from the United Nations and the International Olympic Committee, and a number of the world’s top athletes in participating in the Papal Conference on Sport at the Service of Humanity later this year. 

The inaugural conference, to be held in the Vatican on October 5-7, is an ecumenical conference initiated by Pope Francis with the aim of encouraging more people across the globe to take part in sports programmes.

This global conference will bring together leaders and influencers from business, sport and faith with the aim of developing partnerships and strategies between stakeholders with the capacity to positively affect communities.

The concept for the conference was developed by a 30-strong advisory committee in 2015 during a two-day workshop held at the Vatican, with the aim of supporting Sport at the Service of Humanity’s mission to validate and endorse the “Sport at the Service of Humanity Declaration of Principles” – a set of guiding values that articulate how sport and faith can harness their combined influence to serve the greater good – developing partnerships to put the Principles into action.

Cardinal Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, described the conference as: “an occasion to come together to face up to the great challenges of contemporary society, which are shared interests for the world’s sporting and religious communities: how to live with respect for all, with increased understanding of each other’s traditions and values, fuller and healthier lives and more integrated communities. Sport is also of such fundamental importance for education, allowing young people especially to open up to the trials of life, putting themselves to the test, crossing boundaries, meeting opponents on a fair playing field while striving to be the best they can be - in some sense aiming for the Transcendent.”

Dr Bernard Mullin, Founder and Chairman at The Aspire Sports Group and a member of the Leadership and Management committee behind the event said: “With Everton in the Community’s track record and reputation in using sport as a force for good, they were a natural choice to play a significant role in our first conference. The life-changing and life-saving work of the Charity is something I know will be inspirational to all of our delegates and I’m sure will provide them with examples of good practice that they can take back to their own communities or organisations.”

Dr Denise Barrett-Baxendale MBE, Executive Chair of Everton in the Community and Deputy Chief Executive and Director at Everton Football Club, said: “It is an absolute honour and a privilege to be invited to share the story of Everton in the Community with some of the world’s most prominent business and faith leaders. It’s testament to the dedication and commitment of all of our staff, volunteers and participants that we have been invited to take part in such a prestigious event to do this. The Vision, Mission and Values of Sport at the Service of Humanity are very closely aligned to what we believe in at our Charity, so I am certain that there will be lots of synergy between us at the conference and in the future.”

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