December 18th-20th 2014


As we prepare for the 56th ICHPER·SD Anniversary World Congress scheduled for Manama, Bahrain, on November 30 – December 3, 2014, it is the author’s great pleasure and honor to write this special  message.  Having  faithfully served the Council’s mission for 12 years as Secretary General (1991 – 2003) and 8 years as President (2003 – 2011), I would like to highlight ICHPER·SD’s admirable legacy and how it may lay the groundwork for our future.

The International Council for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport, and Dance (ICHPER·SD) is one of the oldest (e.g. conceived in 1950 & founded in 1958), largest (e.g. serving professionals in 204 countries) and most prestigious (e.g. having held 35 world congresses, 32 regional congresses & numerous forums, conferences and symposia) international umbrella organizations. It

consists of individual professional members, institutions, national and international organizations in the 8 geographical regions (i.e., Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, North America, and Oceania). It has six (6) ICHPER·SD Divisions (Health; Physical Education; Recreation and Leisure; Sport and the Olympic Movement; Dance; and Girls & Women in Sport and P.E.); and 53 ICHPER·SD Commissions that each serves as a structural programming unit and international body for a special interest.

ICHPER·SD has been housed at the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) headquarters – (formerly the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) located in Reston, Virginia, USA – ever since ICHPER·SD’s founding in 1958. It is registered with the IRS of the United States as a nonprofi organization with (501)(c)(3) status. It has been working as an NGO enjoying official relations status with the United Nations Educational, Scientifi and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) since 1962 and with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as a Recognized Organization for education, dissemination of the Olympic Ideal and fair play since 1996. It has advocated for the paramount importance of health as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) since 1958.

The First theme of the World Congress in Rome, Italy in 1958 was “Child Health and School”. It was followed by 34 world congresses with themes such as “HPERSD as an Integral Part of Lifelong Quality Education”, “Quality Physical Activity Education and Science for All”, “Children/Youth as a Gateway to Health and Olympic Caliber Performance,” “Quality Physical, Sport and Peace Education in Schools”. The current theme for our next world congress in Bahrain will be “Towards Building a New Sport System”. I believe this theme will encourage us to apply all we have learned through previous congresses and our studies of educational theories, methodologies and philosophies − the cornerstones for creating pathways to an ideal of optimum health and character for all global citizens in a peaceful world.

The history of humanity has taught us that a comprehensive and well-balanced education of the whole child or person in the interrelated 3 domains of mental, moral, and physical education has been an accepted goal. It is a fact revealed across cultural, religious and political ideologies throughout much of the world. Thus UNESCO’s charter states, “All people should be free to develop and preserve their physical, intellectual and moral powers” and further defines that as human rights. A comprehensive and well-balanced quality education is the basis of every healthy person as revealed in the definition of health adopted in 1948 by the World Health Organization (WHO) at its inaugural meeting. It states, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

 ICHPER·SD stands for Physical Education. Physical education as movement related education − including, health, children’s play, dance, fitness exercises and activities, games, recreation and sports − is associated directly with the aff, cognitive and psychomotor domain for the whole person (D.J. Yang, 1997). Physical activity education begins the moment a human becomes capable of movement as a ‘self-exploring movement facilitator’ and continues with significant movement-facilitators (e.g., mothers and teachers) and throughout a course of human development (e.g., Erik Erikson’s 8 stages of men). Human life is a journey of educational processes from birth to death during which 

physical movement-related education contributes to the holistic process of shaping an individual as the whole person. ICHPER·SD advocates for the Olympic Ideal and sport for peace. In 1996, IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch wrote, “The Olympic Movement is primarily an educational movement, the mission of which is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic Ideal”. Further, he wrote, “The Olympic Movement seeks to set an example for youth whereby they may learn to observe and uphold universal and fundamental ethical principles.” In 1997 the author, a professor and ICHPER·SD Secretary General, wrote, “Sport for peace is an ideal that should be constructed in the minds of children through a Quality Education for the Whole Child – to include the complete and indivisible domain of physical, mental and moral education” (D.J. Yang, 1997).


ICHPER·SD is dedicated to facilitating ‘Quality Physical Education’ in schools and learning institutions by providing children/youth with developmentally appropriate motor skills and sport and curriculum instruction. In 2001, UNESCO and ICHPER·SD completed a joint research project and published official standards entitled: “International Standards of Physical Education and Sport for Children/Youth. Since that time, ICHPER·SD has continued to update the standards and to promote it in schools worldwide. Research findings inform us that the gateway to health, a lifelong active lifestyle and Olympic caliber athletic performance begins to take shape with each child’s own K-12 (pre- and secondary school) experiences in physical education and sport.


We, the members of ICHPER·SD, have been leading the movement for sustainable and vibrant scholarly activities (i.e. research and publications, organizing congresses for presentation and dissemination of findings, and cutting edge knowledge) while exalting the importance of daily physical exercise for all age groups/global citizens, despite any mental or physical challenge. We confi  follow that path while keeping in mind the importance of gender equity, enhancing good health and achieving happiness.


HPERSD professionals must give special recognition to the ICHPER·SD leaders in the Middle East region. They have pursued and advanced the Council’s holistic agenda through many world and regional congresses including the 1999 World Congress in Cairo, Egypt; the 1st Middle East Regional Congress in Cairo in 2000; the 2nd ME Regional Congress in Tehran, Iran in 2003; the 3rd ME Regional Congress in Doha, Qatar in 2006, the 4th ME Regional Congress in Alexandria, Egypt in 2008; the 2010 World Congress in Doha, Qatar; the 2011 World Congress in Cairo, Egypt; 5th ME Regional Congress in Dubai, United Emirates in 2013; and now organizing the 56th ICHPER·SD Anniversary World Congress in Bahrain in 2014. Moreover, they organized the 1st Middle East Leadership Conference & Workshop in Bahrain in 2005 and the 2nd Middle East Leadership Conference in July of 2011 in Cairo, Egypt.


In truth, the 56th ICHPER·SD Anniversary World Congress & Exposition is a gathering to solidify our endeavors and to share responsibilities for our global mission while extending marketable opportunities to related business sectors. We will be updated on the status of our mission and new scientific and pragmatic discoveries to create new methodologies and directions for our sustainable advancement. It is our firm belief that through this world congress, again our dimension of knowledge will be highlighted and expanded, our search for wisdom advanced, our depth of understanding deepened, and our inquiries in science answered. With this congress we are in a better position to serve our profession and our program stakeholders in Bahrain, the Arabic and Persian speaking region (i.e., one of the 8 regions) and citizens around the world.


With our theme, “Towards Building a New Sport System”, and with our gratitude to His Highness Sheik Nasser Hamad AL-KHALIFA, the 56th Anniversary World Congress & Exposition is expected to be a great triumph among scientific forums. We are confi of great success for the congress under the administration of the Bahrain Olympic Committee Secretary General H.E. Abdulrahman Sadeq ASKAR along with BOC’s highly capable staff.

ICHPER·SD, as an organization of the members, for the members, and by the members, must rely on our members’ commitment to be active participants in the Council’s mission and programs. We count on your participation in this congress in the very beautiful and interesting country of Bahrain. As John F. Kennedy stated, “Change is the law of life”, and so have we nurtured innovation, creativity and change to ensure the sustained vitality of our mission and organization. To exist is to change; to change is to enhance our dimension of excellence and to mold the paradigm for advancement without limits.


I would like to offer an old saying: “If I knew the world was going to end tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree.” Although the origin of this ideal is unknown, it has been articulated by many across the cultural diversity throughout the history of humanity. It refl          the best of human virtues and aspiration, c onscious free will, and self-determination.  I hope that every HPERSD professional reached by this special message might refl on this whenever faced by adversity and be encouraged. I thank you and look forward to meeting you again in Bahrain.