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Dr.  Judy Kuriansky
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Dr. Judy Kuriansky:


Dr. Judy Kuriansky
Dr. Judy Kuriansky


by Judy Kuriansky

“Sport has the power to change the world Sport can create hope,
where once there was only despair”
- Nelson Mandela, activist and South African President

Ever dream of being a sports star? 

Those who did - and made it big – gathered
on the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace – celebrated annually on April 6  -- at an event I co-organized and
 moderated with my colleague
 Gordon Tapper,  with the Mission of
Sierra Leone at the United Nations
as our main sponsor with our
NGOs, Give Them A Hand Foundation and the International Association of Applied Psychology. 

Stars and my students ignited the stage at Turkiye House
 (the Mission and Consulate of Turkey) across from
the New York UN headquarters.

International_day_of_Sports, Earl “the Pearl” Monroe

Legendary Earl “the Pearl” Monroe, 1973 Basketball Hall of Famer
 for the beloved New York Knicks, wowed the audience
who clapped incessantly, as he told stories of how he famously faked
 left and then faked right on the court, keeping opponents off center! 
 Education and sports are the winning combination, he said:
 “A ball and a book can change the world.”
Earl now teaches young kids his tricks, at his
Earl Monroe New Renaissance Basketball School.


Earl “the Pearl” Monroe, judy kuriansky

Earl Monroe and Dr Judy

H.E. Ambassador Fanday Turay and Earl Moonroe
H.E. Ambassador Fanday Turay, Permanent Representative of the
Republic of Sierra Leone to the United Nations,
Earl Monroe

His Excellency Fanday Turay,
the main sponsor of this program, told
how sport builds character and societies through teamwork, fairness, discipline and respect for rules
– and also told my favorite historical
of sports healing politics.
Playing ping pong in 1971 – called “Ping pong diplomacy” 
helped end two decades of Chinese-American unfriendly relations.
South Africa’s first post-Apartheid President,
Nelson Mandela, used
the Rugby World Cup to prevent civil war,
as Liberia similarly used
football in the1990s.
And, in 2008, feuding Armenia and Turkey had
 a World Cup qualifying
match between their national teams that
reopened diplomatic dialogue.


Internatiuonal Day of Sport
Asafa Powell and wife Alyshia

Asafa Powell and wife Alyshia

The “Jewel of Jamaica” elite sprinter Asafa Powell is an Olympic Gold Medalist and world-record holder for the 100-meter dash, and now
 host of the “Fast Lane” lifestyle podcast and Ambassador for the 2024 African Games in Ghana. He flew in, fresh off the track of the
parents’ race for his child’s school. He donates lots of money to
 hospitals (even forgets how much!) because he wants his kids to
receive good treatment in Jamaica.

 Imani Mc-Gee-Stafford  
  Former WNBA player Imani Mc-Gee-Stafford 

Towering at 6’7”, 28-year old American professional basketball
, Imani McGee-Stafford, was bullied as a child for her height,
 but it brought her into the WNBA, and on to become Big 12
Freshman of the Year, and star player.
She married her childhood sweetheart and stepped away from the
WNBA seasons in 2020-2021 to pursue a law degree.
A published poet and model, she’s now a member of U.S. State Department’s Sports Envoy program and spokesperson for
 Athletes Unlimited.
Her real passion: being a mental health advocate, sharing her story of surviving sexual abuse and of being bipolar, to help young girls in
 sports face their mental problems and achieve success.
“You need to let others know you need help - and receive it,”
 she said.


Jared Hamilton
   basketballer Jared Hamilton


Jared Harrington, a Maryland-native basketballer for Albany State
 College, began his pro career in Mongolia, then moved to the Cape
Town (South Africa) Tigers for the BAL (Basketball Africa League)
qualifiers, and then to Cobra Sport in South Sudan.
Currently, he is founder of “Beat The Odds Global”, co-owns the Orion basketball team in Rwanda, and is Board Chair of Cape Verde
 Basketball league. Cape Verde is an island country in the central
 Atlantic Ocean off the western coast of Africa, known for being
exceptionally multi-cultural (
mixed European and African descent,
often referred to as mestiço or Crioulo).
teaches athletes about “economic planning and
financial freedom.”


Kim Wyant

When Kim Wyant was coach of the New York University women’s
soccer team, she got a call out of the blue to step in for the New York University’s Men’s Soccer Team as coach.  Not believing her luck
 – and wondering “How can I do this?” -- she said “yes!” (my favorite advice: “Just  say yes and figure it out”!) and became the first female
head coach of an NCAA men’s soccer team (now, one of two), with
her teams compiling a 63-51-14 overall record.

Sulay-Manah Kpukumu, dr judy, fanday turay
Minister Plenipotentiary/Head of Chancery of the Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the United Nations, Sulay-Manah Kpukumu, with Dr. Judy and His Excellency Ambassador of Sierra Leone to the UN Fanday Turay
Gordon Tapper

Gordon Tapper with Ambassador Fanday Turay and sprinter Asafa Powell


My friend, colleague, and event co-producer Gordon Tapper is a
 huge sports fan and aficionado who got these stars to come and
 brilliantly moderated the first half of the event with them speaking.
"Sports was a weapon of war” a long time ago,” he said,
training armies for the longest spear-throwing or distance-running to
 inform a King about advancing opposing armies,
but today “it’s a power for peace bringing players together from
diverse backgrounds to compete with or against each other, to show
off skill.”
Well-known athletes of both genders influence our behavior and fashion, he pointed out, like Michael Jordan’s Air Jordans, and baggy
 shorts!  Consistent with the UN Agenda, women’s sports -- like the Women’s Soccer World Cup -- has advanced gender equality.


Part 2: The Youth Panel


In part 2, I moderated a panel of students from my class on
”Psychology and the United Nations”
at Columbia University Teachers College, who excel in both academics and sports!
They all honored their parents for influencing them, as did mine!
I shared that when I fell off my horse at age 8 (in Kentucky) and was
covered in blood, my frightened mother said “You’ll never ride again”
but my brave Army officer father said, “Get right back on that horse,
  Dad also taught me all kinds of sports, even archery (now an Olympic sport) as shown in this photo! The love of sports stuck.
 Throughout life, I have played tackle football (as QB), squash
(tough!), basketball (lots of HORSE), baseball (shortstop, then second
 base), volleyball, skied, and even climbed Kilimanjaro.


Judy Kurianski
My father teaching me archery at Fort Campbell, Kentucky
Dr Judy with her Columbia University Teachers College students
Dr Judy with her students Taylor Akason, Erin Barry and Lupeng Fan

All three students -- Erin Barry (swimming), Taylor Akason
 (volleyball) and Lupeng Fan (badminton) found friendships and
learned dedication and discipline through sports.

Lupeng Fan is pictured proudly holding the badminton racket that
 his dad gave him when he turned 18  -- they bonded through the
 game. Lupeng came to my class every week proudly carrying his
sports bag!
“The Birdie” doesn’t lie” he proclaimed, meaning the amount of effort
you put into the sport influences your performance: it’s a good lesson
 for life.

When Erin Barry fell into a slump swimming competitively in
 college, her coach advised, “Just have fun!”
It worked! She went on to break time records – win the Women’s
 Atlantic-10 Swimming conference three years in a row, and make it to
the Olympic swimming trials! 
Her advice: be dedicated and driven. Push yourself.
In my class, she wrote a chapter for my upcoming book on “Resilient
 health Systems:
Leveraging Technology and Social Innovations to Transform Healthcare for COVID-19 Recovery and Beyond,” covering
unique programs around the world using tech tools for physical activity,
 like Japan radio broadcasting a calisthenics routine
 every morning.

Taylor Akason got a volleyball scholarship at Pepperdine where she
 spent over 5,000 hours practicing and lifting weights.
Her take-away: “Sports teaches you heard work and leadership.”
For fun, I asked Taylor to “play’ volleyball with Ambassador Fanday,
who also loves volleyball, and tossed them my NBC volleyball.


Ambassador Turay
Ambassador Turay and my student Taylor Akason playing volleyball
Maya Monroe and Dr Judy
Maya Monroe and Dr Judy

At 6’1” tall, event co-organizer, Maya Monroe, daughter of Earl “the
Pearl” Monroe, took after her dad by playing basketball, for Georgia Institute of Technology Yellow Jacket's women's basketball team.
Now, she’s assistant coach for York College women's basketball
team; Physical Education Director at the Madison Square Boys and
 Girls club; partnering with the
Ghana Basketball Association to create
the first National Basketball Championship; and with The Ghana
Library Authority, Basketball 4 Peace and African Chiefs for World
 Book Day, to promote the United Nations Sustainable Development
 Goals of education and gender equality -- giving out books and balls,
installing courts, and access to clean water.

came to enjoy and network, including long-time fellow
advocate in the NGO community at the United Nations, Elisabeth
Shuman, who brought her friend, Nadia Rouab, project manager for
Franco-American Partnerships n New York, who does a project
 called “Sport Dans La Ville” (sports in the city). Sara Galloway also
came by, proud of her daughter having just graduated from
Columbia Journalism School. Another friend, Nene Kodjoe, founding
 Chair of “Sustainable Initiatives and Alliances for Africa” (SIA Africa)
who knows of my many projects in Africa, wants to work together.


Russell Daisey and Imani McGee-Stafford

Who’s really taller? My best friend, international singer-songwriter
Russell Daisey
, long-time supporter of these UN events, on my team
 as an NGO representative at the UN for the International Association
of Applied Psychology, matched his height against 6’7”
Imani McGee-Stafford
. What fun!

Dr. Judy Kuriansky, godontapper

Just like coaches and support staff allow athletes to shine, here (modestly) is this event’s hard-working and talented production team: me with Gordon Tapper, Bethann Carbone of the World Citizens Network Foundation and Branding Ovation partner with Mike Heil


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