Week 172 (28 January - 3 February 2017)
“Sport, I have observed over the years, has an ability to bring people together irrespective of their geography, ethnicity, religion or circumstance.” These are the words of IOC Member Nita Ambani, who in her capacity as founder and chairperson of the Reliance Foundation has been honoured by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (The Met), becoming the first South-Asian to receive such an award from The Met.
The award recognises Ambani’s expansive and extensive philanthropic work in a number of critical areas such as education, health care, rural transformation, women’s empowerment and promotion of the arts, as well as the development of grassroots and professional sports in India.
Through her work with the Reliance Foundation – the philanthropic arm of Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries – Ambani has impacted and benefited the lives of over 10 million Indians.
Ambani’s influence on Indian life and grassroots sports was further enhanced last year when she became an IOC Member at the 129th IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro, becoming the first Indian lady to hold such a position.
Ambani’s dedication to sport is rooted in an understanding of the important role it can play in society, something she is capable of communicating simply and effectively.
After receiving her award from The Met, she said:
“Our efforts in sports, while nascent, are showing remarkable results, with programmes like the Reliance Foundation Young Champs and Reliance Foundation Youth Sports, which are the college and school sports programmes, making a meaningful impact on the lives of youth across the country. In the very first year, we have reached out to two million children.”
Ambani is a fine example of a philanthropist who understands precisely how to use her prominence as an opportunity to campaign for a cause. Her ability as a communicator reflects a deep love for her work and presents a compassionate and graceful activist who is helping to grow sport in India.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons (Bollywoodhungama.com)