Vatican honour for University partner changing lives through sport


Leeds Trinity University is proud to support The Bambisanani Partnership and its founder who has been invited to a landmark Sports Summit at the Vatican.

Leeds Trinity University main entrance.

The Bambisanani Partnership's founder David Geldart has been invited to contribute to a landmark Sports Summit at the Vatican in September. 

David will also be speaking at the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) Summer School taking place on campus at Leeds Trinity University this year. The prestigious summer school attracts applicants and speakers from across the globe and only 40 students are selected to take part in rich and topical content from experts in their field.

The Bambisanani Partnership emerged in 2006 from a British Council and Youth Sport Trust initiative linking UK and South African schools through physical education and sport, inspiring young people in many areas of the curriculum through joint learning activities.

Leeds Trinity University is now a significant member of the partnership and regularly has students volunteering in South Africa to extend the work of the partnership. A fundamental aim of the partnership has been to create genuine two-way learning between both countries with a key focus on ‘working together and learning together’. The Bambisanani story is testimony of the power of sport to change lives.

Bambisanani is a Zulu word meaning ‘working hand in hand’ and aptly describes the work and vision of this inspirational partnership that uses sport as a catalyst to promote education, health, global citizenship and leadership. 

The International Summit Sport for All will involve major sports and intergovernmental institutions and organisations from around the world, to respond to Pope Francis’ calls on the social responsibility of sports and the importance of sports practice as a means of human, educational and spiritual growth.

Speaking about the invitation, David Geldart said: “This is quite remarkable honour, in fact I can’t think of a greater honour. It reflects so well on all the amazing Bambisanani team both here and in South Africa. The Summit and subsequent Declaration will raise the profile of sport and its potential and responsibility to be used as a force for good in the world. This is a unique opportunity to enhance the role of sports in society and produce an action plan to create real social change. It is an enormous privilege to be involved.”

Chris Rowley, Deputy Head of School of Psychology and Therapeutic Studies at Leeds Trinity University, added: “David serves as an excellent ambassador and champion of the work undertaken by the wider Bambisanani Partnership, and his passion and enthusiasm for sport and education as vehicles for two-way learning and cultural exchange has helped to continually drive our collaborative work forward.”

Chris went on to say: “I know David’s contribution at the Sports Summit at the Vatican will be a valuable one, and I am really looking forward to hearing him speak at the ACU Summer School.”

During the Summit in Rome, a Declaration will be presented that invites the world of sport to look to the future by embracing three fundamental characteristics: cohesive, accessible and tailored to each person.

The Summit will welcome around 200 people from the world of sports (athletes, coaches, managers), International Sports Federations, and also amateur Sports Associations, non-profit organisations and educational institutions from around the world working for inclusion in society through sport.

At the conclusion of the Summit, participants will be invited to sign the Declaration with a commitment to increasingly promote in their own institutions and sports organizations the social and inclusive dimension of sport. This invitation will ultimately be extended to all sports entities throughout the world.