On Thursday 12 February ACU Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven, Provost Pauline Nugent, Health Science staff and external donors and stakeholders, including Timor Leste Honorary Consul Victoria Ms Rae Kingsbury, gathered to acknowledge and thank Dr Ross Smith for his leadership of the Future In Youth (FIY) program since 2009.
Dr Smith is retiring and handing over program leadership to Mr Anthony Whitty, Acting Deputy Head of the School of Exercise Science in Melbourne. Professor Jude Butcher of the Institute of Advancing Community Enagement (IACE) thanked Dr Smith for working with the Timorese community to establish ksolok, justu and respeitu (fun, fairness and respect) as values, not only for the program, but also for their communities.
Above: Dr Ross Smith (left) with ACU Vice-Chancellor Greg Craven (right)
Based in Baucau, Timor Leste's second largest town, FIY is a football (soccer) program for young at-risk East Timorese. Since 2010 FIY has seen 4,300 young people and 225 coaches participating. A big achievement in the 2014 program was having six girls' teams participate alongside the boys; a direct result of the positive role models provided by ACU's female exercise science students.
In the last week of February 2015, exercise science staff went to Timor Leste to engage with our primary partners and meet with program managers in Baucau to plan 2015 FIY. One of the key partners is the Timor Leste Secretariat of State for Youth and Sport - an important relationship to ensure the project has an official, long term, sustainable foothold within country.