The NRL today held its inaugural 'In League In Harmony' (ILIH) Youth Ambassador Summit which aims to use to Rugby League to promote social cohesion by tackling issues such as racism, social disengagement, bullying and gender equality.
The summit brought together over 100 ILIH youth participants from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. The high school students were selected based on their positive participation in the seven-week NRL social inclusion program presented to more than 2,500 students in 50 schools over the past three years.
NRL Chief Operating Officer Suzanne Young said the group took part in interactive workshops and heard from speakers to develop their understanding of social issues which they face in the community and how sport is a catalyst to promote social inclusion, integration and equal opportunities.
"It is fitting that this summit has taken place at the start of the NRL Indigenous Round, which highlights and celebrates the significant contribution that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make to Rugby League, both on and off field," Ms Young said.
Guest speakers at the summit included:
• Australian Human Rights Race & Discrimination Commissioner Dr Tim Soutphommasane presented a talk on the 'Racism Stops With Me' campaign;
• NSW Advocate for Children and Young People Andrew Johnson talked about his role in Government and how he represents the interests of all young people, giving them a strong voice on government policies, programs and decisions which impact their lives;
• Secretary of ’Moving Forward Together’ Ernie Friedlander outlined the opportunities for the youth to get involved in community events including Harmony Walk and the Harmony Poster competition; and,
• Former NRL player and current NRL Ambassador Alan Tongue conducted a workshop on personal brand and Respectful Relationships.
"We hope by being a part of the program, participants will improve their interpersonal skills by acknowledging, appreciating and celebrating the diversity amongst their peers and the wider community," Ms Young said.