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    It’s widely known that engagement in sports can help kids get focused in other areas. Now, a new program at the University of Louisville seeks to bring about positive social change through sports—and will host a series of public events this week.
    The Olympian IDEALS (Innovation, Development, Engagement and Advancement of Literacy through Sport) Festival will bring together university students, professors, policymakers, community agencies and youth for a series of free, public exhibits and discussions. The event is a joint project of Louisville IDEALS—an initiative within UofL’s Department of Health & Sport Sciences to promote the power of sports for personal development and social change—and the Muhammad Ali Institute for Peace & Justice.
    This Wednesday, April 13, the festival will kick off at 11 a.m. with an information fair at the Red Barn on the Belknap Campus. The fair, which runs until 2 p.m., will feature exhibits of work done by students and community agencies using sports to improve communities. At 6 p.m., a panel discussion will discuss “olympism” and how it can be applied and displayed in sports, education and culture; that will be at the Shumaker Research Building, also on the Belknap Campus.

    On Thursday, April 14, a panel of sporting industry experts from national and international humanitarian institutions will gather at 6 p.m. at the Muhammad Ali Center auditorium, 144 North 6th Street downtown. “Ali in Focus” will include representatives from institutions such as Madison Square Garden Sports, Street Soccer USA, Trinidad & Tobago Alliance for Sport & Physical Education, Commonwealth Games Association of Canada and UNHCR (the United Nations’ refugee agency).
    Organizers say Muhammad Ali’s roles as an Olympic hero and humanitarian activist provided inspiration for the festival. To learn more about Louisville IDEALS, see

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    Photo: AP

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