Capturing The Indescribable
By Krystina Lucido
Well, we are finally home. And being the person who wrote about our arrival, I do not write it with the same enthusiasm as I did then. For those who have been keeping up with the blog, you have seen all the exciting and informational things our group has been able to do and see throughout our short-lived time in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Our group met with many of the leading sponsors of the World Cup such as Coke and Sony as well as behind-the scenes organizing arms such as Octagon Marketing and U.S. Soccer's Friends and Family program.
Some of the best learning experiences were getting to see the companies at work. From touring Nike's new training facility, set up to help youth in the historic township of Soweto not only learn soccer but also learn the importance of knowing their HIV status, to visiting the site where the Football For Hope 2010 event will take place in the underdeveloped area of Alexandra.
The experience and knowledge gained from talking with executives from FIFA's corporate social responsibility arm, directly responsible for organizing the Football For Hope event, all the way to the seemingly-unrelated-to-soccer meeting with NBA International were unprecedented. These organizations not only have a physical presence at the World Cup, but through their work and social responsibility can leave a lasting legacy to carry on long after they leave.
We all know from our immersion in corporate America, (and I use the phrase purposefully) business is what makes the world go 'round, making money usually being the majority priority. Taking it a step further to transplanting corporate America on a global scale, taking advantage of oversized markets with undersized pockets, can be a recipe for disaster. Georgetown's SIM program was able to not only take ourselves out of that environment physically, but mentally and socially as well.
Analyzing and discussing corporate social responsibility aspects of the companies we met with was not just feel-good moments for us, but rather showed companies can make money and impacts simultaneously.
Being knee-deep in the culture of South Africa, melting away the prejudices we carried off the plane, showed us life doesn’t have to be about cell phones and fast internet. It can be about hugs from security after your team drew in an exciting match. It can be about the cleaning lady dancing in the lobby of your hotel. It can be about the group of little kids who chased our bus in Alexandra, group-posing for pictures.
There is a litany of things our group took away from this trip, and I believe each and every one of us will look at large, global events -- and the United States in general -- in a whole new light. Watching ESPN as I watch this, I'm bringing myself back to Saturday morning when I stood in the same room the commentators are sitting in now, overlooking Soccer City Stadium.
The images run like slides through my head. I know everyone I know will ask me how it was, and I honestly don’t know what I will say. Only one word comes to mind right now -- unbelievable.
Posted June 22, 2010