Nov 29, 2023

Sports, Sponsorships, and Events / Feature Story

Sponsorship & Events

IOC Young Leader Alfonso Galvez Aspires to Support People’s Mental Health Through the Power of Sport

As a founding partner of the IOC Young Leaders Programme, Panasonic has been contributing to the development of future leaders by supporting young talented individuals around the world and helping them make a difference in their communities through sport.

Panasonic supports the programme by offering selected IOC Young Leaders a two-week internship at Panasonic offices and manufacturing plants in Japan. Launched in 2020, this initiative is aimed at helping the candidates gain hands-on insights into how they can build sustainable, sport-oriented social businesses in the future.

Panasonic Newsroom Global has commissioned a series of articles focusing on individual IOC Young Leaders. In this latest installment, we spoke with IOC Young Leader Alfonso Galvez, a native of the Philippines, about his passion for sport, which has led him to pursue a career in sports management. We also talked about his participation in Kid Witness News (KWN), a global video educational program for students supported by Panasonic, and his overall experience of the IOC Young Leaders Programme.

Pursuing his sporting and career dreams as an IOC Young Leader

Alfonso loved watching sport on TV as a child. Boxing and basketball were the most popular sports in the Philippines at the time, but Alfonso’s favorite sport was volleyball. “I watched the Japan women’s national volleyball team win a medal at the London 2012 Olympics, and that was the very moment I fell in love with international volleyball,” he recalled. As he realized how much joy and empathy could be shared through sport, Alfonso began to dream of working in the sporting field.

At university Alfonso majored in business management, but upon graduating he sought a job connected with sport, securing what for him was a dream position in a Philippines broadcasting company. He developed his career there, gradually earning responsibility for a wide range of activities, including sports broadcasting, event coverage, and e-sports. He also embarked on a postgraduate degree in sports and exercise science. After graduation in 2021, he found out about the IOC Young Leaders Programme.

Photo: Alfonso, an IOC Young Leader who was offered an internship at Panasonic.

Alfonso, an IOC Young Leader who was offered an internship at Panasonic.

At first I was only intending to take part in one of their webinar sessions,” said Alfonso. But he then learned more about the Young Leaders Programme. “I’ve been a fan of the Olympic Games for a long time, and have always wanted to be a part of the Olympic family,” he explained. Alfonso decided to have a shot at applying, and the passion he demonstrated for using sport to create local change and his strong project proposal helped secure his place on the programme. He was subsequently one of a select number of IOC Young Leaders from around the world chosen to take part in this year’s Panasonic internship program.

Harnessing the power of sport to tackle mental health challenges in his home country

Explains Alfonso, “In the Philippines, the general mental health condition of children has become an issue over the last decade. However, not everyone has access to professional help from therapists. Also in the Philippines, there’s still an ingrained bias against this kind of therapy.

During his studies in sports science, Alfonso came across research highlighting the positive effect of sport on people’s physical and mental health, and he began to think he might be able to help address mental health issues through sport. “Sport not only helps improve your physical and mental condition, it can also help improve social skills through the interaction it provides with other people,” he maintains. “But, more than anything else, it helps people find a new community or family.

Photo: Alfonso introduces the IOC Young Leaders Programme at a school in Japan

Alfonso introduces the IOC Young Leaders Programme at a school in Japan

Alfonso himself has experienced the positive effects of sporting activity; since this June, he has been participating in a volleyball camp, and says it has become an indispensable community where he feels free from the pressures of daily life.

Growing as a storyteller through his experience at the Kid Witness Global Summit

In the IOC Young Leaders Programme, Alfonso has focused on developing his storytelling ability, a skillset essential for achieving his goal of inspiring people through the delivery of sports content. Alfonso is currently honing his storytelling skills by serving on the IOC Young Leaders newsletter editorial team. “I wanted to learn how to communicate a story in a way that really engages people, just as Panasonic does,” says Alfonso. “Even after the internship, I will continue studying during the rest of the Young Leaders Programme, aiming to grow as a great storyteller.” Now, as the culmination of his journey, he is working on a video about the experiences he’s gained through the program.

Looking back at the overall program, the highlight for me was definitely the Kid Witness News event,” recalls Alfonso. An online Kid Witness News Global Summit was held on October 21 this year, with around 150 students joining from 18 schools in nine countries. Alfonso participated as one of the presenters and gave a lecture on how Panasonic supports the Olympic movement. He also moderated a quiz session, helping the children get a better understanding of the Olympic Games while having fun.

Photo: Alfonso moderates a quiz session at a global Kid Witness News summit event.

Alfonso moderates a quiz session at a global Kid Witness News summit event.

It was a memorable experience, as I was able to share my passion with people from all around the world,” Alfonso explained. He concluded his presentation by introducing the concept of sports psychology and explaining the various positive effects of sport.

Photo: Alfonso with KWN students at the global summit.

Alfonso with KWN students at the global summit.

Take a step forward and give it a shot!

During his interaction with the children during the program, Alfonso was impressed by how much they knew about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. “Looking back at my childhood, I wasn’t really aware of any of the social issues the SDGs aim to address, so I was surprised to learn about them.

Alfonso continues with his advice to the younger generation. “What I want to tell the children is: just give it a shot. Whether it turns out successful or not, you won’t be able to go anywhere without taking the first step. This advice comes from my very own experience because I wouldn’t be here speaking if I hadn’t taken a shot at the IOC Young Leaders Programme.

Photo: Alfonso visits the AkeruE Panasonic Creative Museum with children participating in the KWN Global Summit

Alfonso visits the AkeruE Panasonic Creative Museum with children participating in the KWN Global Summit

Alfonso is positive about what lies ahead. “Through all my interactions with the younger generation, I’ve learned that they are very smart and aware, which makes me very optimistic about the future. Countless opportunities await them, so I want them to not be afraid of failure and to take a brave step forward.

Panasonic remains committed to its mission of empowering young people and improving people’s general well-being, and will continue to support the IOC Young Leaders Programme and similar initiatives around the world.

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