“Knowing is not enough, we must apply…” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Whew, it’s Friday! It’s been an incredible week!! After all the preparation, interviewing and learning, our adventures at the 66th World Health Assembly has come to an end. It was quite amazing observing  how decisions and policies that are set this week affect lives all around the world.

The side event I attended today was Physical Activity, Sport and Health side hosted by the United Nations, Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP)  and the Group of Friends on Sport for Development and Peace.  I had been looking forward to this event for a few weeks and was super excited that the day had come! With NCDs on everybody’s mind, physical activity, the most modifiable risk factor has become a major topic for discussion. Silva Poll, the first Olympic medalist for Costa Rica opened the discussion with a brief statement about the upcoming First Global Youth Summit in Costa Rica that will enroll 500 students to promote healthy living. She also mentioned that kids are spending too much time with electronics, which made me feel embarrassed that I am attached to my phone. Dr. Poul Hansen, Head of UNOSDP gave statements about the importance of physical education and activity that got me excited to continue to work in this area ,”Let’s focus on bringing back Physical Education in our education systems,” and ” Physical education is the basis for creating a culture of physical activity in our societies.” Dr. Douglas Bettcher, WHO Director Prevention of Noncommunicable Disease emphasized the importance of the initiative in getting more nations active, “Passing the NCDS Framework both the GAP and GMF is such an important milestone in Global Health history.”  There were also testimonies by Tadesse Abraham, an Eritrean Distance Runner and Ms. Corinne Abrahams, a winner of the Melbourne Iron Man that encouraged the entire room to get active and reminded us of the influential power we have on others when we participate in healthy behaviors. To close the event, a Judo group with a couple of children awed the audience with flipping and tumbling moves and even got us to participate with them! The kids were so excited to be there but I think the audience was even more encouraged to see their joy when they performed and did what they loved to do most. Witnessing the work that UNOSDP has gotten me fired up to find more opportunities to merge what I am learning in Global Health and apply it to what I love in Kinesiology.

Ruby, Dr. Margaret Chan, Allyson and Trisa

The cherry on top of a wonderful was finally meeting and taking a picture of WHO Director General Margaret Chan!!! She has continued to inspire me with her passion for International health and her down to earth personality. It was actually kind of funny how the meeting happened…Me, Ruby and Trisa were turning a corner and I happened to see her cut in front of us in an empty hall. After a couple encouraging glances from Ruby and Trisa I ran up to her, introduced myself and asked for a picture. She paused and waved to me which I misinterpreted as a shoo. Disappointed we made our way to the escalators to a side a event when I heard some people hollering and waving, it was Dr. Chan, her assistant and body guard. I definitely accidentally pushed some people to catch up to her and she greeted me saying “I wanted to take a picture but not in the hallway and when I looked back you were gone!” I am shocked that a woman of such power and poise could have so much enthusiasm to want to take a picture with a couple of students. I am continually inspired by her and hope to some day be that same inspiration for another.

Here is a video of the Judo Demonstration