UFIT USA Launch and Global Launch of the Marseille Declaration

News release provided by UFIT.

Washington, D.C. - On the 16th of May 2016 two exciting launches took place at the American Heart Association in Washington DC; (1) the UFIT USA Launch and (2) the Global Launch of the Marseille Declaration. Both initiatives are the kick off to a social change movement aiming to increase fitness opportunities for people with disabilities and by that striving for more inclusion in society.


Universal Fitness Innovation & Transformation (UFIT) is a global social change movement, led by the UNESCO Chair in the Institute of Technology Tralee, Ireland. UFIT’s innovation aims to increase fitness opportunities for people with disabilities by connecting fitness clubs and centres; with local disability service providers and groups; and allied professionals guiding the process in a client-centred and bespoke manner while taking the fitness management and staff through an inclusive journey that builds their skills, knowledge and competency to facilitate the inclusion of all in their service offerings and operations. UFIT was launched in Marseille, France, on October 19, 2015 in association with IHRSA’s 15th Annual European Congress. At this launch, it was agreed that the Marseille Declaration would follow as an instrument to drive support for inclusion in the Fitness Sector. UFIT has been very well received by leaders in the fitness sector and a USA Taskforce has been established with key representatives of the fitness sector. The USA Taskforce is committed to inclusivizing and increasing the UniversAbility© of the sector. The taskforce recognizes UFIT and the Marseille Declaration as instrumental mechanisms to fulfilling their commitment.

Members of the taskforce represent:

  • President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition;
  • The National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD);
  • The International Health, Racquet and Sports club Association (IHRSA);
  • The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM);
  • The American Council of Exercise (ACE); and
  • The US Registry of Exercise Professionals (US REPS); and
  • The UNESCO Chair, Institute of Technology Tralee, Ireland.

The UFIT USA Launch started off with a welcome address by Catherine Carty, the manager of the UNESCO Chair, Dr. Oliver Murphy, President of the Institute of Technology Tralee, and Cllr. Terry O’Brien, from the Chair Board of Governors of the Institute. Then a video message by Pati Umaga, the UFIT Music Partner followed, including his song “Sive”. After that various members of the US Taskforce officially launched UFIT USA and the Marseille Declaration. Among them were Shellie Pfohl and Lauren Darensbourg from the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition; Scott Goudeseune from ACE; Joe Moore, Helen Durkin and Kilian Fisher from IHRSA; Jim Whitehead from ACSM; James H. Rimmer from NCHPAD; Wade Delk from US REPS and Mary Davis from Special Olympics International. For more information on the program, speakers and the US Taskforce Organizations, please look at these links: Program, Infographic 1, Infographic 2

What is the Marseille Declaration?

The Marseille Declaration is supported by UNESCO and represents a commitment to inclusion by and for the Fitness Sector and is in full alignment with UNESCO’s International Charter of Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport (2015) and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006). As a Social Change Movement the Declaration should be signed by all those who believe in the power of the Fitness Sector to act as a key societal conduit through which we can foster greater social inclusion of people with disabilities and other marginalized groups.

The Marseille Declaration Launch took place in combination with the UFIT USA Launch. The Declaration was signed multiple times today and thereby marks the great commitment and start for future signings and commitment to inclusivize the Fitness Sector.

Who can sign the Marseille Declaration? All those who believe in the power of the Fitness Sector to act as a key societal conduit through which we can foster greater social inclusion of people with disabilities and other marginalized groups. Including

  1. Federations, Club and Facility Operators, Fitness Professionals, Equipment Manufacturers and Suppliers, Architects and Designers, Training Providers, Educational Institutions, Employers Professional Bodies and all Allied Sector Agents and Agencies.  
  2. Disability Advocacy groups and Disability Service Organisations and individuals who would like to avail of fitness sector service offerings and career offerings.  
  3. All those related Physical Activity, Sports and Disability Sports organisations.  
  4. Sports Stars, Celebrities and Public Figures Internationally.  
  5. Public Authorities.  
  6. Social Enterprises and Trade Unions
  7. Global Bodies such as UNESCO, United Nations, UNICEF, WHO, OECD, OSCE and NGOs operating towards the attainment of better societies, social justice, equality and human rights.  
  8. The Global Public.

Contact gerard@justdoufit.com if you are interested in signing the Marseille Declaration. 

The UNESCO Chair in Inclusive Fitness thanks all partners and supporters, specifically the US UFIT Taskforce partners and collaborators and looks forward to seeing the UFIT programme carried out in various parts of the world. Moreover, the UNESCO Chair is excited to see many more federations, organisations, groups and individuals signing the Marseille Declaration.

For further information please have a look at our websites and social media:

We also invite you to support us by taking to social media and help us to get trending by using the main hashtag #YouFitIn as well as tagging us in your tweets/facebook posts @UNESCOITTralee and/or @justdoUFIT.