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International Alliance for Health; Physical Education, Dance and Sport (IAHPEDS) - exploring a truly global organisation.

The IAHPEDS 2024 World Congress is being held in Tokyo, Japan 5-8 July 2024. Featured speakers include experts from around the globe and presenters represent many nations including US, China, India, Japan, Philippines, Nigeria, Turkey, Singapore, Malaysia, Macao, Greece, New Zealand and Australia. This blog will explore IAHPEDS history as a global education organisation and partnership opportunities.


International Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Sport and Dance
IAHPEDS logo


IAHPEDS is governed by professionals from around the world, in the fields of Health, Physical Education, Dance and Sport. The home office is located in the United States, in Fredericksburg, Virginia, but have membership representation from around the world. Elections are held every four years for Executive Committee positions, Board of Directors and Board of Governors.


As the IAHPEDS logo states, the organisation was established in 2019, however as a branch of the International Council for Health Physical Education and Recreation - Sport and Dance (ICHPER-SD) its purpose does have an enlightening history. While ICHPER-SD shared headquarters with SHAPE America in Reston, Virginia, USA, it was separately governed and operated. However, "more recently such national and international organisations have found it increasingly difficult to maintain members and subsequently, remain financially viable. This has forced contemplation of their purpose and need during a time of technological advancements which have allowed global connections, for example, through social media" (Lynch, 2019, pp. 90-91); and led to the establishment of IAHPEDS.


IAHPEDS and ICHPER: A strong and proud history


The umbrella international organisation ICHPER was first conceived in 1950, and officially founded in Rome, Italy in 1958. The theme of the first ICHPER world congress was ‘Child Health and the School’. There have since been 36 world congresses, 32 regional congresses and numerous forums, conferences and symposia. The ICHPER name was extended to include ‘Sport’ and ‘Dance’ (ICHPER-SD) in Yokohama, Japan in 1993. The 56th ICHPER-SD Anniversary World Congress & Exposition was held in Bahrain (December, 2014). ACHPER was formally known as Australian Physical Education Association (APEA) and the name change was a direct result of the ICHPER-SD first and only world congress to be held in Oceania (Sydney, 1970). Some may remember the ICHPER-SD (Oceania) first Regional congress, held in Wellington, NZ in 2006. The title of the 1970 Sydney world congress was 'New Endeavours in Physical Education, Health Education and Recreation', it was of international significance, the best attended conference in the history of APEA and a milestone for ‘Health, Physical Education and Recreation’ (Kirk & Macdonald, 1998).


Similar to ICHPER, IAHPEDS has a strong affiliation with the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) America. ICHPER was initiated by an idea first conceived in 1950 by the Board of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (AAHPER). AAHPER had its name supplemented with ‘Dance’ to become AAHPERD and in 2014 the Board became SHAPE America. This was the 7th name change of the AAPERD since its founding in 1885 as the Association for the Advancement of Physical Education (AAPE) (Yang, 2015). In 2015 in Seattle, Washington, USA the 130th Annual SHAPE America Convention and Exposition was held with over 7000 participants and approximately 400 presentations/ programs. The ICHPER-SD Forum was held in conjunction with this SHAPE 113 America Convention. ICHPER was founded in 1958 in Rome, Italy by the world’s leading professionals in Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) and since this time ICHPER-SD headquarters have been shared with AAHPER[D]/ SHAPE America in Reston, Virginia. ICHPER-SD shares vision and purpose with organisations such as SHAPE America, ACHPER and PENZ (Physical Education New Zealand), but specifically has an international focus. The ultimate purpose of ICHPER is to pursue and exchange scholarly knowledge amongst individuals and appropriate groups in the fields of health, physical education and recreation, focusing primarily on the process of teaching and learning, curriculum and programme development, the administration and organisation of programmes, and the effects of physical activities on the holistic well-being of children, young people and adults, and on their emotional, social and spiritual development. (Kane, 1989, p. 107).


IAHPEDS (similar to ICHPER-SD’s) mission is to share and optimise internationally, ‘quality’ HPERSD; it achieves this by advocating HPERSD in schools and communities and by uniting Health and Physical Educators from around the world. ICHPER-SD involved 208 countries worldwide and has served and worked with professionals and organisations in over 168 countries. ICHPER-SD “has also directed efforts towards developing countries in order to initiate and strengthen programmes and leadership within the schools and higher education institutions” (Kane, 1989, p. 107). ICHPER-SD was established so that individuals in the fields of HPER: could work together on an international basis. These individuals were primarily teachers and administrators who wanted an association which was not representative of any one country, or system, or one method of physical education. They also wanted to explore and discuss the broad fields of physical education, health and recreation and to include many activities in their programs. They wished to know what other countries were doing in these various areas of sport, athletics, dance, gymnastics, aquatics and outing activities. (Hircock, 1988, p. 73). Since 1958 to this very day ICHPER (and now IAHPEDS) has been closely affiliated with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO). Furthermore IAHPEDS (similar to ICHPER-SD) is registered in the USA as a non-profit [US 501(c)(3) status] charitable and educational organisation. Initially ICHPER was a member of the World Confederation of Organisations of the Teaching Profession (WCOTP) which assisted with organising conferences and translation services (Hircock, 1988). This relationship was significant as “WCOTP had original nongovernmental ‘A’ status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and UNESCO. As an international member of WCOTP, ICHPER shared this relationship and received advice, encouragement and support from these UN agencies.” (Hircock, 1988, p. 94). It was in May 1984, when ICHPER as an independent organisation was granted nongovernmental class ‘A’ consultative status by UNESCO (Kane, 1989).


Working collaboratively with UNESCO, ICHPER-SD has produced many reports and publications. ‘Physical Education and Games’ and ‘Teacher Training for Physical Education’ were completed in 1962 and published in 1963. ICHPER ‘International Questionnaire (Part II and III) on the Status of Teachers of Physical Education (Part II)’ and ‘Teacher Training for Physical Education’ was published in 1969. In a national-level effort for implementation of the outcomes of the International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport (MINEPS) (first held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris in 1976), a National Conference was organised and held in Washington, D.C., in November, 1977 (Yang, 2004).


Participants were the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, the U.S. Department of State, the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, ICHPER·SD, the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (AAHPER) and its 3 constituent associations and 10 cooperating organizations. They all worked together in cooperation with UNESCO/CIGEPS [Intergovernmental Committee for Physical Education and Sport] for the Conference with the theme, “the Role of Physical Education and Sport in the Education of Youth in the Context of Lifelong Education” (Report, U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, 1978). In 1978, through the working session of CIGEPS (June 1977 and May 1978) with other relevant organizations like ICHPER·SD, the UNESCO General Conference adopted the International Charter of Physical Education and Sport in response to the lack of standards and institutions for physical education and sport at the international level. At that time, over twenty years ago, the International Charter was established to counteract the already identified problem of the trend of negative attitudes to the status of physical education and sport in school systems. (Yang, 2004, p. 1).


In 1981 ICHPER-SD completed ‘National Policies and Practices Concerning the Role of Physical Education and Sport in the Education of Youth’ (UNESCO Contract No. 207505) which was published by the International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education (ICSSPE). (Yang, 2004). Other contracts with UNESCO include: ‘Suggested Guidelines for Conducting a National Study for Physical Education and Sport (Contract No. 516.344); ‘Final Report of the UNESCO International Symposium on Physical Education and Sport Programmes for the Physically and Mentally Handicapped’ (Contract No. 518.015); ‘The Role of Girls and Women in Developing Physical Education and Sports Programmes’ (Contract No. 516.436); Planning Inexpensive Facilities and Equipment for Physical Education, Sport and Recreation Programmes (Contract No. 516.437); Health, Physical Education and Fitness for Older Women (Contract No. 108.046.4); and Educational Innovations in Physical Education and Sport (Contract No. 207.546) (Kane, 1989).


In 1988 UNESCO organised MINEPS II (Moscow) and in 1999 MINEPS III in Punta del Este, Uruguay where the CIGEPS of UNESCO and its Physical Education and Sport Unit under the Department of Education for a Culture of Peace, the Permanent Consultative Council (CCP) to CIGEPS which ICHPER-SD was a member (alongside International Olympic Committee (IOC), World Health Organisation (WHO), ICSSPE, other invited organisations and UNESCO staff) drafted the Declaration and Recommendations and presented them to the assembly of MINEPS III. “After discussion and debate lasting over two days, MINEPS III concluded with adopting the Declaration and Recommendations.” (Yang, 2004, p. 2).


The largest joint project ICHPER-SD has completed in collaboration with UNESCO was the three international standards (Contract No. 105051.0): (1) International Standards for Physical Education and Sport for School Children; (2) Global Standards for Professional Preparation of Physical Educators; and (3) A Global Vision for School Physical Education. ICHPER-SD was also to develop a World Database of existing Physical Education and Sport Institutions, Universities, Training Centres, Research Centres, and Specialised Physical Education and Sport Schools.


The projects were successfully completed, and all relevant documents (e.g., 3 International Standards in English text) were duly submitted to UNESCO’s Department of Education for a Culture of Peace, the signatory on behalf of the Director General of UNESCO on April 30, 2001. UNESCO translated the original English texts into French and Spanish, and these Standards in 3 languages (English, French, and Spanish) were presented and used as a part of the main working documents for the meeting of the Round Table of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport held at UNESCO’s Headquarters from January 9 - 10, 2003, in Paris… In March 2004, UNESCO through its Division for the Promotion of Quality Education informed the Office of the ICHPER·SD President that the Standards have been approved and adopted by UNESCO/CIGEPS, and thus they are an official “authoritative texts.” (Yang, 2004, p. 3).


ICHPER-SD has held 36 World Congresses, 32 regional congresses and numerous forums, conferences and symposia. The theme of the first ICHPER world congress was ‘Child Health and the School’. The ICHPER name was extended to include ‘Sport’ and ‘Dance’ (ICHPER-SD) in Yokohama, Japan at the 1993 world congress. The latest congress, the 56th ICHPER-SD Anniversary World Congress & Exposition was held in Bahrain (December, 2014) with the theme ‘Towards Building a New Sport System’ (Table 1).


ICHPER-SD comprises of eight regions which the Bylaws Article V Section 2 clarifies are sub-structures and not independent organisation entities. These include Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, North America and Oceania. Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands all sit within the Oceania region. ICHPER-SD has six divisions; Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Leisure, Sport and the Olympic Movement, Dance, and Girls and Women in Sport and PE. Within the divisions, Commissions are programming interest areas. As can be seen from ICHPER-SD’s history and partnerships it is one of the oldest and most influential international academic HPERSD organisations.


National Organisations


IAHPEDS, like ICHPER-SD shares vision and purpose with SHAPE America, ACHPER and PENZ (Physical Education New Zealand), specifically with an international focus. Hence, ACHPER, PENZ and IAHPEDS, working in collaboration, compliment and strengthen one another in promoting active and healthy living, as evidenced throughout history.


ACHPER Connections


ACHPER The Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation is this year celebrating its 68th anniversary as a national organisation, beginning around the same time as ICHPER. ACHPER and ICHPER-SD have connections and partnerships throughout history. ACHPER was formally known as Australian Physical Education Association (APEA) and the name change was a direct result of the ICHPER-SD first and only world congress to be held in Oceania (Sydney, 1970). The title of the 1970 Sydney world congress was 'New Endeavours in Physical Education, Health Education and Recreation', it was of international significance, the best attended conference in the history of APEA and a milestone for ‘Health, Physical Education and Recreation’ (Kirk & Macdonald, 1998).


The Annual Meeting of the National Council of the Australian Physical Education Association (APEA) was held on the 1st August 1970 during the joint ICHPER-APEA International Congress in Sydney. Motion 4 of the meeting requested 'that the National Association initiate the process of changing the name of the association to include the three disciplines Physical Education, Health Education and Recreation and thus widen the sphere upon which the Australian Physical Education Association bears influence' ...


There was no doubt that the ICHPER-APEA International Congress provided some significant impetus to the movement to change the name of the APEA. In her report on the Conference, Elaine Chesworth claimed that it was 'in every way a milestone in the history of health, physical education and recreation in Australia'. The Conference was the best attended in the history of the APEA and had provided a significant boost to membership. The title of the Conference, 'New Endeavours in Physical Education, Health Education and Recreation', suggests that the three areas of focus were already on their way to becoming increasingly visible within APEA (now ACHPER). According to Chesworth, the Congress indicated that 'we in Australia are now part of the international scene', and it may have been this feeling of connectedness internationally through ICHPER along with the great success of the conference that led to the acceptance of an Australian version of this name.

Elaine Murphy (ACHPER National President 1988-1993 and ICHPER-SD Vice President -Oceania) described this influence “Australians coming back from overseas, they were saying that associations over there are including these other streams (in health and recreation), and our description of physical education is just not adequate when health is such a large component (of what we do)... they wanted these words included otherwise they felt that physical education was too narrow.” (Kirk & Macdonald, 1998, pp. 6-7).


This excerpt evidences the strong history ICHPER-SD and ACHPER have had and the opportunity for IAHPEDS and ACHPER to continue this history. Elaine Murphy was President of both organisations/ regions. In 2006 the first ICHPER-SD (Oceania) Regional congress, held in Wellington, NZ, further developed PENZ, ACHPER and ICHPER-SD relations.


Future partnerships


The Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER) held the 28th biennial International Conference in Melbourne in 2013. The conference theme was ‘A Defining Time’ and examined the Australian Curriculum and the significance of Health and Physical Education (HPE) in the lives of young Australians. Internationally renowned HPE academic, Professor David Kirk from (at that time) the University of Bedfordshire (UK), presented the 22nd Fritz Duras Memorial Lecture at the University of Melbourne. The title of the keynote presentation was ‘A defining time for physical education futures? Exploring the legacy of Fritz Duras.’ Kirk opened the memorial lecture by challenging HPE educators:


It has been my conviction for sometime and something that I’ve argued in public that most of us in health and physical education do not know the history of our field particularly well and this places us in a very precarious situation in terms of a readiness to face change.


This lecture set a platform for the history of HPE within the Australian context by exploring the ‘Father of PE’, Fritz Duras, and his contribution during the 1930s through to the 1950s. As Kirk indicated metaphorically, while Fritz (the father) made a significant contribution “he was greatly assisted by the other family members”. Kirk encouraged “We must all be involved collectively and with one shared purpose” (2013).


During this same conference a feature forum involving a panel of Health and Physical Education (HPE) curriculum experts was assembled to discuss the emergence of the national HPE curriculum. Kirk used this feature forum to argue the importance of history in HPE.


So here’s the thing that bothers me. How come our collective memories aren’t following what’s going on anymore? We’ve published on this, so there’s been quite a bit of stuff out there in journals… I don’t know how others feel about this but it frustrates the hell out of me! Because I’m a part-time historian as well, I tend to look to the past for lessons about the present and where we might be heading in the future. (Hickey et al., 2014, p. 184).


This blog uses the themes identified through Kirk’s recommendations; knowing HPE history, working collectively, present moment, shared purpose, and optimising the future, in promoting HPE organisational collaboration, relevant to the 29th ACHPER International Conference theme of ‘Values into Action: A Brighter Future’


It is proposed that stronger partnerships between IAHPEDS (as a branch of ICHPER) and ACHPER can enable a brighter future through international connections. Australia hosting a second world congress and exposition could be a reality and possibly as successful as Sydney 1970 Congress; ‘New Endeavours in HPER’, however as Kirk asserts, “We must all be involved collectively and with one shared purpose.”







References


Hickey, C. Kirk, D., Macdonald, D. & Penney, D. (2014). Curriculum reform in 3D: a panel of experts discuss the new HPE curriculum in Australia. Asia-Pacific Journal of Health, Sport and Physical Education, 5(2), 181-192.


Hircock, B. (1988). ICHPER’S History. Journal of Physical Education & Dance, 59(2), 73.


Kane, J. (1989). International council for health, physical education and recreation (ICHPER). International Review of Education, 35(1), 107.


Kirk, D. (2013). A defining time for physical education futures? Exploring the legacy of Fritz Duras. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWHfzlAYMzc (accessed 10 January 2015).


Kirk, D. & Macdonald, D. (1998). The physical activity profession in process: unity, diversity and the Australian council for health, physical education and recreation 1970-1997. Sporting Traditions: Journal of the Australian Society for Sports History, 15(1), 3-24


Lynch, T. (2019). Physical education and wellbeing: Global and holistic approaches to child health. Palgrave Macmillan.


Yang, D. (2004). A partnership of ICHPER-SD with UNESCO for over 40 years. Proceedings of the 10th ICHPER-SD Europe Congress & the TSSA 8th International Sports Science Congress (pp. 1-4). Antalya, Turkey. Retrieved from http://media.wix.com/ugd/842c5e_a9785a7bac374487952ba6bea373bbb5.pd

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