BrazilFoundation joined forces with the Ford Foundation at the 2013 International Human Rights Funders Group (IHRFG) conference to sponsor a panel entitled “From Cape Town to Rio: Strategies for Funding Human Rights Work in the Context of Mega-Sporting Events.” The panel discussion was moderated by Minky Worden from Human Rights Watch. Patricia Lobaccaro, CEO of BrazilFoundation, spoke about the funding strategies that the Foundation has already taken up to counteract the human rights abuses presently taking place, as Brazil prepares to host the World Cup next year and the Olympics in 2016. Specifically, she cited the incredible work of “Barraca da Amizade” and an art competition held in Rio de Janeiro.

Nikki Naylor, acting representative from the Johannesburg office of the Ford Foundation, spoke of the efforts undertaken by Ford to combat the human rights abuses that took occurred before and during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Her talk included a recapitulation of the abuses that occurred, which provided a reflection on the lessons learned from the event.

The panel was moderated by Minky Worden, a human rights stalwart from Human Rights Watch (HRW), who has herself worked on the issue of mega sporting events and human rights violation for over 20 years. She recounted the challenges and successes that she and HRW have experienced, while trying to bring to light the abuses that occurred during the Beijing Olympics and that are occurring in the run up to the Sochi Winter Olympics. As the panel came to a close, panelists and audience were of one mind, that “we cannot have a successful mega-sporting event with human rights abuses,” as Minky so aptly put it.

BrazilFoundation would like to thank the Ford Foundation and HRW for participating in this panel, and the IHRFG for putting together a conference rich in ideas and debate.

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