Diversity and Inclusion highlights at the 15th EFDN Conference

16 April 2021

The 15th EFDN Conference took place this year from the 13th of April until the 14th of April.

At the conference over 150 clubs, leagues and FAs joined engaging presentations on many topics such as; Social Inclusion, Employability, Health, Education, and Environmental Sustainability.

On the first day of the Conference, Max Bergander, Responsible for Core Values at AIK Stockholm gave an interesting presentation on how the club aims to build an environment where everybody feels secure and is able to express themselves. Max who played at a high level in Sweden himself retired from football because he didn’t support the culture around it. Currently, Max focuses on making sure that clubs have a CSR to making sure everyone feels accepted and safe in a footballing environment.

Another presentation attendees were able to enjoy on the first day was a presentation on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Sports given by Shay Wallach who is the Assistant Director of Inclusion at NCAA. The presentation mainly focused on the CSR of organisations to make sure that people feel welcome in the world of sports and how the mission of accepting diversity, equity, and inclusion, and CSR are deeply connected. The rest of the presentation mainly focused on how and why the NCAA engages in diversity, equity & inclusion work and how the sports industry is changing to being more inclusive.

On the last day of the conference, Karin Blankenstein President of the John Blankenstein Foundation gave a presentation on LGBTQ+ acceptance in sport. The Dutch foundation was established in 2008 in honour of Karin’s brother, John Blankenstein who was a Dutch football referee and gay rights activist, who passed away in 2006. The foundation is committed to creating a safer and more inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ people in sports.

Throughout the two days attendees were able to enjoy many different presentations on a variety of topics, as well as join Roundtable sessions where participants were able to share views and opinions with others. The EFDN hopes that next year they will be able to host the 16th EFDN Conference in person if the ongoing measures permit it.

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