I would like to wish every one of FISU’s 170 National University Sports Federations a peaceful, happy and successful New Year! It may be the first days of January but I am already very excited about 2016. It is set to be a huge year in university sport. The World University Championships are looming large on the horizons of all FISU’s Member Associations this year, with championships in 34 sports. The first championship is in Ski Orienteering in February and the last will be in Sambo in December. Over the course of 11 months, our championships will be held in places as diverse as the USA, Spain, Malaysia, and Cyprus. Furthermore Namibia, Indonesia and Argentina will be hosting a FISU event for the first time. I wish all host nations and competitors the very best of luck in the World University Championships this year. Behind the scenes at FISU, there are many other equally exciting activities taking place as we strive to increase the relevance of FISU amongst the students of the world and continue to impose good governance practices, aligned with Olympic Agenda 2020, throughout our operations. In addition, construction of FISU’s new headquarters in Lausanne is underway with completion scheduled for the end of 2017. This leaves just under two years before we leave our current residence in the Maison du Sport International and relocate to the campus of the University of Lausanne. In this time I hope to have laid down a new blueprint for FISU for our future so that our physical move into a new home is combined with an operational and philosophical transition into a new era. This process of reform is happening from a position of great strength and this is largely thanks to the excellent work of my predecessor Claude-Louis Gallien. But as we have seen in 2015, in the sports industry you must change yourself, or risk being changed by external forces. During my election campaign, I structured my proposals across three areas: alignment with the Olympic Movement, administration, and communications. It has been eight weeks since I had the honour of being elected as your President and I am very pleased with the progress made so far. As well as examining what changes need to be made, I have taken great care to ensure that the many good ideas of the previous administration are properly carried through. For example in December, we launched a new digital accreditation system to be used by Member Associations for the upcoming World University Championships. This project was started under the last administration and is a significant step forward in our internal communications, benefitting everyone from organising committees to athletes in 2016. FISU and all its members have a collective responsibility for the moral, intellectual and physical development through sport of students around the world. To ensure we meet this responsibility every stakeholder must feel they have a voice and they must be able to exercise that voice when they wish. Fostering debate and dialogue is one of the fundamental roles of every university. As it is in universities, it should be amongst the FISU family. So I say to all Member Associations: FISU is here for you. Keep us informed, and keep challenging us. FISU will be doing the same to you in return.
I wish you success in your pursuit of excellence in mind and body in 2016.