Excel, compete, unite!: The experience of an Aga Khan Academy student at the 2016 Jubilee Games | Aga Khan Academies

Excel, compete, unite!: The experience of an Aga Khan Academy student at the 2016 Jubilee Games

09 August 2016

The 2016 Jubilee Games were held between 22–29 July in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and brought people from around the world together in a celebration of sport and fitness that transcended cultural, social and language barriers. Over 30 Aga Khan Academy students, staff and alumni attended this event. Kamil Sorathia, a first year Diploma Programme (DP1) student at the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa writes of his experience.

Group pictureEnjoying the gamesExcel, compete and unite! The motto of the 2016 Jubilee Games in Dubai perfectly sums up the spirit of the event, which remains one of my most memorable experiences yet. Starting from the vast diversity of the athletes, spectators and volunteers that attended this event from around the world, to the unity, camaraderie and support they displayed amongst themselves despite their differences, the Jubilee Games were absolutely magical. 

Muskaan Bhaidani, Aga Khan Academy Mombasa year 9 studentDubai was the perfect host city for the sporting talents of the Ismaili community to come together and compete. As Prince Rahim Aga Khan mentioned at the opening ceremony in the presence of His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, United Arab Emirates’ Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, “I can think of no better way than this and of no better place than Dubai to promote the notion of bringing young minds from diverse backgrounds and different environments together in the spirit of friendship and peace."

As a spectator, I particularly enjoyed witnessing the different athletes from around the world come together. Despite their differences in culture and tradition, sport was the tool that bridged all the barriers to bring a diverse community together. Athletes from over 28 countries passionately competed to win gold across 15 individual and team sports including football, volleyball, swimming and golf.

As a way of developing a better understanding of the other cultures, the Jubilee Games had a Global Village in which each country had a stall, as a way to showcase their cultures and traditions. They displayed their culture through clothing, language, food and several other forms. It opened my eyes to the diversity around the world and enriched my cultural understanding by hearing stories of people from those countries.

FCBescola campFCBEscolaI was also fortunate to take part in a football training camp for five days organised by FC Barcelona. The FCBEscola was another opportunity for me to meet with footballers from different parts for the world and train together under the highest calibre coaches. In addition to learning more about sport and sportsmanship, it was incredible to realise how we were so different culturally yet through sport and the game of football we were able to come together and make friendships that will last a lifetime.

Staff members Imran Bandeali and Anthony Ndugu represented the Aga Khan Academies to interact and understand the level of athletic and coaching talent at the Jubilee Games and to see whether there were opportunities for collaboration between the Jubilee Games and Aga Khan Academies. Imran Bandeali commented in particular on the qualities that Team Tajikistan displayed. “Team Tajikistan proved that if you have the passion and interest to do something and if you work hard for it, nothing can restrict you. They overcame many challenges and they were exceptional in all the sports that they played.”

AlumniAcademy alumna Neha Dhalani, far rightImran also appreciated that Aga Khan Academy alumni, parents and staff were part of the almost 2,000 volunteers from all over the world who had put in countless hours, and it was only with their dedication, passion and enthusiasm that the Jubilee Games became a reality. His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan also commented on the volunteers’ commitment to professionalism and excellence at the opening ceremony, saying, “In organising these games, you have clearly responded to the extraordinary leadership of His Highness the Aga Khan. These Jubilee Games speak eloquently to the wisdom, courage, global vision, humanitarian initiatives, and moral strength that have marked his 59 years of enlightened guidance and leadership as Imam of the Ismaili community.”

Being an Aga Khan Academy student, my experience was augmented. Our institution already provides us with a platform that makes us more pluralistic and understanding of other cultures. Through my education and experience at the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa, I was able to enhance my understanding and communication with other members at the Jubilee Games. The Aga Khan Academy instils great attributes in us that help us unite with others, and allows me to communicate with others from around the world with ease. His Highness the Aga Khan envisions a unified community, and through our all-rounded education at the Aga Khan Academy, this vision can become a reality.

By Kamil Sorathia, DP1 student