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President of the United States Traditional Wrestling Society meets with the Rapporteur of the Adhoc Advisory committee, UNESCO Traditional Sports and Games

Sonia Kumari
CONTRIBUTOR
News
687   //    26 Feb 2018, 13:55 IST

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Mr Harpreet Singh, A Scott Wendel and Mr Shammi Rana at Baltimore for the meeting of USA Traditional Wrestling Society.

A. Scott Wendel, President of the United States Traditional Wrestling Society, met with the Rapporteur of the Adhoc Advisory committee, UNESCO Traditional Sports and Games, Mr. Shammi Rana during his visit to the States, recently.

Rana, along with TSG Committee Chairman Khalil Khan had made headlines having been invited by H.E. Bilal Erdogan to the forum for the revival of traditional sports held in Antalya, Turkey in February 2018 where Chairman Khan delivered a stirring presentation.

Mr. Rana and Mr. Wendel discussed the creation of a Pan American traditional wrestling organization. The function of the organization will be to safeguard, develop and promote traditional wrestling styles in the Americas. Mr. Wendel was tasked to coordinate a PanAm group under the guidelines of the International Association of Traditional Wrestling Sports which is the main stakeholder of UNESCO Traditional Sport and Games.

Mr. Harpreet Arora, Chief Financial officer of the USTWS contributed his business and technological expertise to the meeting and will use his business leadership to guide the new group with its financial strategies and business plan. Mr. Arora owns a successful internet technology company and has a passion for advancing cultural understanding through sports.

Hon. John Clendenin, Commissioner and Chairman Emeritus of the U.S. Virgin Islands Public Services Commission will play a pivotal role in the PanAm group. The founder and president of Athletic Motivation Institute (AMI), he is a retired U.S. Marine Lieutenant Colonel with an extensive background in International competition.

John teaches multicultural leadership as a former senior faculty member of the Harvard Graduate School of Business and past Senior Associate Dean of the University of Madrid. His speciality is in the human dynamics of sports. He is a member of the International Association of Sports Psychologists (IASP) and the New York Academy of Sciences. 

Professor Clendenin brings with him a wealth of knowledge and public service that will allow him to coordinate with local, territory, state, and federal governments and organizations.

The United States Traditional Wrestling Society (USTWS) is a cultural preservation nonprofit that protects and promotes the intrinsic values of indigenous and relocated peoples. The intangible cultural heritage of humanity comprises of cultural practices and expressions that help demonstrate the diversity of this heritage and raises awareness about its importance.

The society successfully represented the USA in the World Nomad Games in 2016. It also organized and sent teams to compete in the Belt wrestling, Kazakh Kures and Celtic World Championships.

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The USTWS has put on many demonstrations, seminars and referee clinics all in an effort to spread the growth of traditional wrestling styles in the States. Youth competitors travelled to Scotland to attend training camps with fellow students from France, England and Iceland. They toured the countryside to visit the historic sites and compete in the Highland Games. The society is currently in the process of adding Scottish Wrestling to the Highland Games in the United States.

Wendel has been a Physical Education instructor for the past 20 years and has been working to develop character education and cultural competency understanding in schools. Wendel states that the ability to understand and communicate allows effective interaction between people from diverse cultural backgrounds.

This competency encompasses developing positive attitudes toward cultural differences, gaining knowledge of different cultural practices and different worldviews. The future of this initiative begins with children. The group plans on becoming involved with the public school systems to use this platform to increase student’s cultural competency.

Wendel has invited UNESCO TSG Rapporteur Shammi Rana and committee Chairman Khalil Khan back to the United States for a round of meetings to discuss the execution of the initiatives and how best to move forward to transforming them into a more concrete plan of action. Wendel also is planning to host the next collective consultation meeting for the safeguarding and promotion of traditional sports and games in the USA. 

Since the United States is a melting pot of culture, it is the perfect location to host an international traditional wrestling event. The PanAm group is planning to host an international celebration to bring together all interested parties and athletes to participate in a traditional event.

Traditional attitudes and values have been marginalized due to an ever-increasing shift toward professionalism and commercialism. The Pan American Traditional Wrestling group will work to identify and unify diverse cultures through our activities. The group will become a regional partner of the International Association of Traditional Wrestling Sports. IATWS is a key partner of Traditional Sport and Games of UNESCO.

Everyone is searching for their true identity and who they are in this day and age. Knowing your cultural traditions and values and participating in them allows a person to gain a large piece of their heritage. This allows people to have their distinct way of life live on for future generations. Indeed, this future is looking very bright for cultural diversity and understanding in the Americas.

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Sonia Kumari
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