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At the IDB, we believe that together we can go farther. Our partnership network is making positive differences in Latin America and the Caribbean every day, and this blog is our channel for telling that story. Stay tuned for literature on partnership perspectives, stories from the field, changing trends, outlooks for development and the region, information on ways and opportunities to partner, and more. Thanks for stopping by.

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90 Minutes of the World’s Most Beautiful Game

By - Aug 27 2015

Like most Latin Americans, I’ve been passionate about music and sports since childhood. As a native Colombian I was fortunate to grow up in a country that has, as a seemingly permanent soundtrack, catchy beats, lively salsa, and quality vallenatos playing in the background of daily life. Years later, I find myself working on these very topics day to day. At the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) Office of Outreach and Partnerships, I work actively to utilize sports and music as vehicles for development. With my running commentary on football and commitment to its role in development qualifying me for this role, I get to engage firsthand with many diverse organizations who share the IDB’s belief in the critical role both music and sports can play in our work.  This summer, on July 27th, many seasons of hard work culminated in a dream come true, an event attended by athletic and musical stars alike to discuss these beliefs and showcase related success.

On that day, we teamed up with the FC Barcelona Foundation to play a home game with an all-star lineup, gathering at IDB headquarters to bring to life the power of sports and culture for development in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). In the first half, our starting line consisted of Josep Cortada, Executive Director of the FC Barcelona Foundation, Mauricio Heredia, Executive Director of the Rafa Marquez Foundation, and Patricia Janiot, CNN en Español Senior Correspondent. Patricia played her position well, skillfully facilitating the conversation and highlighting a Mexico-based project where the IDB and both present foundations have come together to reduce violence and promote social inclusion through sport.

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In the second half, the crowd went wild when IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno and musical MVP Carlos Vives took to the field. In the first fifteen minutes, they discussed the key role of culture and music in promoting the development of LAC countries, specifically highlighting Santa Marta, Colombia and Mr. Vives’ efforts to revitalize this “Pearl of the Caribbean.” Later, Luis Suarez and Marc Bartra of FC Barcelona’s starting lines—two of the night’s biggest stars—rushed the field, alongside FC Barcelona First Vice President Jordi Cardoner i Casaus. What followed was a “jogo bonito,” an engaging dialogue about the important part athletes play as role models for children everywhere. Two Mexican youngsters, participants in the aforementioned Rafa Marquez-IDB-FC Barcelona project, piped in through video, posing questions to each player about the lessons they’ve learned on the field that are applicable in life.

When the final whistle blew, a triumphant audience left reminded by how the IDB, through its partners, is able to advance LAC’s development by innovatively applying music and sports to some of the region’s most pressing challenges. Undoubtedly this event was an unforgettable one, and participating in efforts to bring to life both the event and projects using sports as a medium for social inclusion and improved life for our people will long fill me with pride. And though these efforts may come at a cost—both in time and resources—we can safely say that the ability to combine the passion of sports with the passion of helping others is priceless.



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