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FIFA/CIES International University Network

The winners of the FIFA/CIES University Network Prize discover Neuchâtel and Zurich… and learn to make cheese…

The three winners of the FIFA/CIES 2018 University Network Prize, Abdulrazzaq Al-Mahmood, Atanas Tarkalanov and Damir Valeev, have just completed their trip to Switzerland. The visit, which was part of their prize, provided an opportunity for the alumni from the 2017 FIFA/CIES Executive Programme organised by Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi (SUAD) to discover various facets of the country, visit the CIES headquarters in Neuchâtel and also the “Home of FIFA” in Zurich.

Abdulrazzaq, Atanas and Damir’s winning FIFA/CIES University Network group project was entitled: “Green Card: Creating a Sustainable Stadia System in the United Arab Emirates”. Accompanied by Alexandre Blaise, the SUAD/FIFA/CIES Executive Programme Director, the group first visited the town of La Chaux-de-Fonds, which is listed among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites for its “watchmaking urban ensemble”. Later they discovered the collections of the prestigious International Museum of Horology as well as various aspects of this centuries-old local industry.

The next day, after a trip to  the historic town of Neuchâtel and CIES headquarters, the three friends had the opportunity to present their group project to the FIFA Master 18th edition students during a dynamic “question and answer” session followed by a friendly aperitif to allow for networking among the participants.

The SUAD team then travelled to the green hills of Emmental where Abdulrazzaq, Atanas, Damir and Alexandre discovered the basics of cheese making. This was a tough learning process, with a lot of laughter accompanying their efforts to do well. Maybe we should avoid talking about the final result….!

The final big day of their itinerary was a special visit to FIFA headquarters in Zurich. The participants, again accompanied by the 18th edition FIFA Master students, attended presentations by several FIFA managers on key themes such as communication, human resources, legal issues , member associations and competitions. This provided an opportunity to exchange views with experts and to broaden their knowledge of the management processes needed for a major sports organisation.

Finally, FIFA President Gianni Infantino awarded the diploma to the three winners in the presence of FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura. This was undoubtedly a very emotional moment for Abdulrazzaq, Atanas and Damir, not to mention an excellent way to finish such an adventure which had started back in November 2016 with the third edition of the SUAD/FIFA/CIES Executive Programme in Abu Dhabi.