Griffith seals landmark partnership with Oceania Paralympic Committee

President of the OPC, Mr Paul Bird, and Vice President (Industry & External Engagement) Dr Peter Binks.

The Oceania Paralympic Committee (OPC) is building on a powerhouse partnership with Griffith University in the lead up to the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, taking up head office residency at the Gold Coast campus.

Emphasising the shared commitment to excellence, innovation and community engagement, a memorandum of understanding was officiated at Griffith’s Nathan Campus on 10 August.

The partnership between Griffith and the OPC includes:

  • International Relations and Partnerships
  • Visibility, Reputation and Branding
  • Research and Innovation
  • Education and Training
  • Advocacy
  • Tourism and Events
  • Community Engagement and Participation
  • Sport
  • Inclusive Futures: Reimagining Disability

Griffith Director of Games Engagement and Partnerships, Dr Caroline Riot, said the allegiance aims to increase participation and opportunities for para-athletes.

Dr Peter Binks, Mr Paul Bird OAM, Dr Caroline Riot and Mr Atma Maharaj.

“Griffith is partnering with the OPC to support governance and development work, ensuring all athletes and coaches have a sport pathway, classification, talent identification and development opportunity that paves the way for performance excellence,” she said.

President of the OPC, Mr Paul Bird OAM said its robust relationship with Griffith has been demonstrated by an enthusiastic commitment to collectively delivering para-sport opportunities across Pacific communities.

“This MOU solidifies our relationship and will help us deliver an evidence-based research and insight-led approach towards equality for people with a disability living within Oceania,” he said.

Dr Riot recently returned from a trip with the OPC to Palau in the Pacific, having been invited to support the program delivery of a Paralympic committee.

Griffith and the OPC together helped to establish Palau’s first Paralympic Committee in a recent trip.

“I was fortunate to work with the OPC on-the-ground in Palau, holding conversations to encourage engagement with national sport federations, celebrate local sport success, and identify and develop the talent of young people,” she said.

One of these young people was Palauan senior student and athlete Koko, who lives with cerebral palsy.

Following interactions with the OPC and Griffith, Koko is now considering studying at Griffith and hopes to qualify for the Paris Games next year.

Dr Riot said: “The opportunities that lie ahead because of this partnership will open up disability and inclusion conversations and action across the region and will work to engage our local communities and experts in ways that strengthen the region and deliver strong legacies arising from the Brisbane 2032 Games.”

In a values-based exchange, the OPC will support Griffith in paralympic-related activities through data exchange and access to insights around Oceania-based para-sport development and performance.

Reciprocally, a central office space at Griffith’s Gold Coast campus will support the OPC’s local presence and reputation, enabling the joint delivery of world-class programs, sporting, coaching and research initiatives.

Vice-President of Industry & External Engagement at Griffith University, Dr Peter Binks, said: “Griffith already has long-standing relationships in the Oceania region, is recognised as Australia’s leading university for high-performance sports, and has a growing profile in accessibility.”

“Working alongside OPC gives us a much stronger platform for using these strengths, we have been very impressed by OPC’s leadership at all levels, and their vision for finding and supporting the ‘hidden people’ of Oceania.”

Griffith Sports College, equity and diversity researchers, Griffith Asia Institute and the GAPS program will continue to work with the OPC and the International Paralympic Committee.

The partnership is underpinned by widespread support from Griffith’s leading researchers and groups.

“The OPC has the stated ambition to fly 17 flags at the Brisbane 2032 Games and to ensure every country of Oceania is represented,” Dr Riot said.

“Griffith is working with OPC hand-in-hand to strengthen and revitalise National Paralympic Committees in the region, and building Paralympic committees in countries that don’t have one.”