Nita Ambani, Founder and Chairperson, Reliance Foundation addressed the delegates at the Sport at the Service of Humanity Conference, the First Global Conference on Faith and Sport, held by the Vatican in conjunction with the United Nations and the International Olympic Committee.
The Conference was hosted by His Holiness Pope Francis, Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, and Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee.
This Conference held at the Vatican City, which was blessed by His Holiness Pope Francis, saw the participation of over 150 world leaders in discussion on how Sport and Faith working together can improve and enhance the lives of those who most need it in many different walks of life. Ambani was the only representative from India at the Conference.
Addressing the delegates, Ambani spoke about the impact of sport on society and its ability to transcend differences.
She also shared relevant case studies from the Reliance Foundation's many youth focussed sports programmes, highlighting the transformational power of sport, not just for an individual but also for their community, country and the world.
Speaking on the side-lines of the Conference, Ambani added, "I am privileged to have had the opportunity to share my experiences at the Sport at the Service of Humanity Conference."
"Sport, I have observed over the years, has an ability to bring people together irrespective of their geography, ethnicity, religion or circumstance. Magical things happen on sports fields – smiles and friendships bloom over wins and losses."
She further added, "There is a strong connection today between Faith and Sport, not just as players and spectators but across the entire community.
"I have seen people from different religions, people who speak different languages, of all age groups come together in support of a single team / player.
"This is the extraordinary ability that sport has, to multiply the power of Faith, to create human bonding, and foster positive change. I had a very enriching and insightful exchange of thoughts at the Conference, seeding some very tangible ideas which I hope to implement, going forward."
Ambani has been an enthusiastic promoter of sport in the country. She is actively involved in promoting multiple sports in India through a number of large-scale grassroots initiatives, with focus on developing young talent.
She has initiated and singularly driven initiatives like Education for All (EFA), Reliance Foundation Youth Sports (RFYS) Reliance Foundation Young Champs (RFYC) and the Reliance Foundation Junior NBA programme, which have together impacted the lives of more than 5.5 million children across multiple sports.
Her contribution to the growth of sports in India has been recognised as a catalyst of change across various sports through the strong grassroots programmes that will help identify and nurture new talent from across the country.
Ambani was recently elected as a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). She is the first Indian woman representative and is also currently the only representative from India in the IOC.
The goal of the Sport at the Service of Humanity Conference is to create a place where thought leaders from sports, business, politics, academia, media and different religious faiths can discuss how Faith and Sport can work together to better serve humanity.