On November 18, 2010, Aspire4Sport, an international conference located in Doha, Qatar and corresponding with the announcement of the 2022 World Cup bid announcement, invited Dr. Nathan Tomasini to speak and discuss issues related to Sport and Education in the U.S. and globally. In addition to Dr. Tomasini (sitting far left), the panel included (left to right) Sayid Khalid Al-Busaidi, President of the Oman Football Federation, Tom Pitchon, Head of Programs for Laureus Sport For Good Foundation, Nick Gates, Founder of Coaches Across Continents, and Wilfred Lemke, U.N. Special Advisor for Sport Development and Peace.
Aspire4Sport’s intention was to bring together all elements of the sporting world for four days of business, debate and entertainment. Most importantly, the conference sought to provide delegates with the opportunity to discover Qatar and the world’s largest multi-purpose sports facility. The conference also included panels and presentations on facility design for the 2022 World Cup, the benefits of bidding for large sporting events, and issues in sport and today’s global media. With the opportunity to demonstrate to the sport industry that the country of Qatar has the aptitude and resources necessary to stage the world’s largest sport event, delegates were treated to an international soccer friendly between the national teams from Brazil and Argentina one evening, and a match between tennis legends John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg the next.
Accompanying Dr. Tomasini to Qatar was Dr. Brendan Dwyer, Assistant Director of the CSL, and Mr. Tim Lampe, Associate Athletic Director of Facilities and Siegel Center Operations. In addition to the conference, the three met with Dean Allyson Vanstone and CEO Bill McGee from VCU in Qatar, and were given a tour of the campus from Moamer Gazafi, Director of Marketing and Public Relations. While they were extremely busy at the conference and visiting with Administrators from VCU-Q, Margarita Zuniga, the Dean’s Office Administrator, was kind enough to aid in their experience of Middle East culture and even helped them get up close and personal with a few camels in the Qatari desert.
In all, the trio left the conference and the area with an improved perspective on life and sport in the Middle East. They also left confident in Qatar’s ability to host a mega-event such as the World Cup. Lastly, the group was excited and grateful for the contacts gained, the hospitality shown, and the future opportunities for the CSL, students and alumni looking to gain international work experience in Qatar.