Opening by FEI President and IMD Professor

15 April 2019
15 April 2019 Author: fei

FEI President Ingmar de Vos opened the eighth FEI Sports Forum with a rallying address focusing on some of the topics which will be explored, debated and unravelled over the coming 48 hours and calling on delegates and stakeholders to share their feedback and their insights. 

Held at the IMD Business School in Lausanne (SUI) for the seventh year in a row, the FEI Sports Forum 2019 has attracted 265 delegates with a diverse programme covering gender equality, Tokyo 2020 preparations and climate mitigation, review of the FEI legal system, the future of Reining and the entire second day dedicated to Endurance. The FEI President set the scene for the Endurance discussions on day two reminding delegates why tackling and resolving the issues which have negatively impacted the sport for so many years is crucial. And he was uncompromising in his message:

“Endurance is and will continue to be an FEI discipline. Not only because we are the sole governing body, and as such we need to take our responsibilities, but also because it has great potential and a big future in the FEI, but not as it currently exists. This is a ride – not a race. Horsemanship and the unique bond between horse and rider is key. If you don’t respect these values then go somewhere else. In our sport athletes and their entourage also have to take responsibility. This will take courage and leadership.” 

See below for more on this session - including links to relevant supporting documents (speeches and presentations). 

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  Opening Speeches
15 April 2019, 09:00 - 09:30
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The FEI President reminded delegates that the FEI Sports Forum had become an integral part of the FEI governance process and every year the discussions and outcomes of the sessions had gone on to influence the proposals and decisions made at the FEI General Assembly. This was their opportunity to make their voices be heard and to play a role in the future of equestrian sport. 

“As you have seen in the programme, we have again a busy two days, with diverse topics and an impressive list of experts, guest speakers and panellists to help guide our discussions. But the Sports Forum is all about dialogue, so your input is absolutely vital and I want to take this opportunity already to thank everyone here for making the effort to come to Lausanne, and invite you to actively participate in the discussions.”


Following the opening address by the FEI President, IMD representative Professor Ginka Toegel, an IMD teacher, facilitator and researcher in the areas of leadership and human behaviour, set the scene for the first session of the day: gender equality. She gave a thought provoking introduction on the concept of gender bias, and how perception affects our behaviour. 


In an interactive presentation, she referred to several studies which clearly demonstrated gender bias and our “automatic” response to situations which tends to be based on emotional and learned behaviour rather than rationale and logic. The key was not to tell people what to think or what to do, but to encourage people to make inclusive decisions through “nudges” to guide our brain to make the right decision. 


She concluded with the small steps everyone can take in their daily lives when it comes to introducing “nudges” and reflecting on why and how we ask gender biased questions, therefore acknowledging gender bias so that we can overcome it and make the right decisions for the right reasons. 



Opening Speech by Ingmar De Vos, FEI President

Presentation by IMD Professor Ginka Toegel
Speakers bios