In an exciting development for Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) alumna, Maya Gabriel (BA’20, BA’23), who graduated from the Faculty of Humanities (FH) with a double major in Advertising and Marketing as well as Physical Education and Sports, was recently awarded the title of Student Ambassador by the International University Sports Federation (FISU).
Gabriel’s sports journey started at the beginning of her enrollment, where she became a member of the NDU women’s futsal and basketball teams, additionally taking on the role of statistician for the men’s futsal team. Her experiences as both player and analyst not only highlighted the importance of teamwork diversity and inclusion, according to Gabriel, but gave her a crucial advantage when undergoing the FISU selection process.
As for her pursuit of a double major, Gabriel also credits the versatility and diversity of the knowledge she gleaned in her education in giving her a competitive edge. The Physical Education and Sports major helped her gain a deeper understanding of physical health and well-being as well as providing her with insight regarding sports organization and governing bodies, while Advertising and Marketing refined her communication and event-planning skills. Gabriel stated: “My double major instilled in me a deep appreciation for discipline and a strong work ethic, all of which are qualities I believe will transfer positively to my role as a Student Ambassador.”
The FISU’s yearly selection process begins when the international organization contacts its local branches to nominate 2–3 student athletes as representatives. These participants must be under 25 years old and must have previously participated in the FISU Volunteer Leaders Academy (FVLA), a training program that schedules lectures, seminars, and cross-cultural discussions to prepare students for their role as Ambassadors. Accordingly, Gabriel and her peers were nominated at NDU by Dr. Nadim Nassif, FH Associate Professor of Physical Education, and Mr. Elias Boutros, Head of the Department of Athletics at the Office of Student Affairs (SAO). The Lebanese University Sports Federation (FSUL) proceeds with the selection process thereafter, with the elected students participating in online sessions held by the FVLA, where Gabriel was educated in the expectations and duties of Student Ambassadors.
With over 400 Ambassadors around the world, the FISU elects students every year to act as the link between the international organization and local committees. As such, Student Ambassadors are responsible for the promotion of sports in their country and region on the field as well as through social media. Such activities include events organized by the FISU or otherwise, as well as participation in sports conferences. The International Day of University Sport (IDUS), in particular, is one of the highlights of the FISU’s organized events, taking place annually on September 20. The IDUS is officially recognized by UNESCO, thereby presenting a prime opportunity for the FISU and its Student Ambassadors to organize and promote the importance of Physical Education in pedagogical contexts. Student Ambassadors of different countries also work in tandem on large scale events, which Gabriel noted to be of high importance, as it would widen the cross-cultural discourse in the sports, health, and wellness paradigm.
NDU extends its congratulations to Gabriel for her recent appointment and may the next year be fruitful and conducive to many successes to come!