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FIFA/CIES International University Network

2024 FIFA/CIES International University Network Prize: Two former students from Venezuela visit Switzerland

Nilsa Montserrat Guzmán and Oriana Tovar Gómez took part in the 13th edition of the FIFA/CIES International Programme organised by Universidad Metropolitana (UNIMET) in Caracas and were awarded the 2024 FIFA/CIES International University Network Prize for their project entitled, “Entre lo virtual y lo presencial: Propuesta para la promoción y difusión del Poomsae competitivo del Taekwondo en Venezuela por medio de tecnologías de la información y de la comunicación (TICs)”. The two winners recently travelled to Switzerland which provided them, and also Rafael Espinoza who is Director of the Programme in Venezuala, with an opportunity to visit several sports organisations and to explore different facets of the country.

Upon their arrival in Zurich, the Venezuelan delegation experienced the return of winter weather as they explored the city, before ending the day in a traditional brasserie in Switzerland's business capital. On this occasion, Nilsa Montserrat Guzmán and Oriana Tovar Gómez underlined the importance for them of having followed the UNIMET/FIFA/CIES International University Network Programme;

“Taking part in this Course has had a significant impact on our professional and sporting development. It offers the opportunity to acquire new knowledge and apply it, for example, to a real competition, such as the 6th UNIMET Football Cup, a tournament that we organised as part of the event management module. What is more, our final project was an opportunity to analyse the problems that exist in a sport like taekwondo and to come up with concrete, achievable solutions by applying what we had learned in class”.

The next day, the two former students strolled through the streets of the historic city of Lucerne before taking a walk on the Kapellbrücke, the famous wooden bridge built in 1333 on the shores of the lake. The excursion also enabled them to discover the collections of the International Transport Museum and the mysteries of Swiss chocolate.

Following this, they headed for the FIFA headquarters in Zurich in the company of the FIFA Master 24th edition class, while marvelling at the newly snow-covered landscape. After receiving their diplomas from FIFA football expert and former Swiss International goalkeeper, Pascal Zuberbühler, Nilsa and Oriana attended various lectures given by FIFA managers on topics such as football and technology, woman’s football, MA operations and creative branding. The visit ended with a tour of the House of Football, along with various photo opportunities, including one with FIFA President, Gianni Infantino.

The week concluded with a visit to the FIFA Museum which is also located in Zurich, followed by an afternoon transfer to Lausanne in order to visit the Olympic Museum and the “Maison du Sport International”, which houses the majority of the international federations. On this occasion, the two prize winners had the great satisfaction of meeting managers at the World Taekwondo Federation and sharing a few privileged moments with them to talk about their project and experiences of the sport. In addition, they were able to experience a short visiting tour at the “Court of Arbitration for Sport”, something which particularly pleased, Oriana, who is a sports lawyer.

After a final meal in Zurich, Nilsa and Oriana summed up their trip to Switzerland by saying, “What a fantastic experience! The meetings with the FIFA Master students and managers from different sports were very rewarding. We were able to see first-hand how the subjects taught in the FIFA/CIES International Programme are applied to international sport. This will enable us to improve the performance of our own sport and other sporting institutions in Venezuela. We will return to our country with many memories, new ideas and new projects. Many thanks to CIES!”

CIES was delighted to welcome the Venezuelan delegation – which was full of enthusiasm - for a week filled with emotions in some of the country's most famous sporting venues and sites steeped in history. Not forgetting the experience of the Swiss railway system, the Swiss gastronomy and…unexpected snow!