Menu

Rory Foundation Helps Open International Education Opportunities for Young Sports Stars Through the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open

A new collaboration facilitated by the Rory Foundation between Dubai Business Internships (DBI) and the Sport Changes Life Foundation, announced during the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, will provide two exceptional post-graduate athletes a unique opportunity to study, do business and contribute to sports initiatives in Dubai.

The partnership is a result of the Rory Foundation’s vision for the Irish Open as a driver of new opportunities for young people, and is supported by headline sponsor, Dubai Duty Free.

Speaking in support of the collaboration, Rory McIlroy said, “I’m delighted that my Foundation is able to support the development of young people through Sport Changes Life and the Victory Scholars programme. Young scholars have the opportunity to develop their skills while assisting community outreach programmes. It’s very exciting to see the scholars further their studies and placements into Dubai, somewhere that remains special to me as a golfer and a place that is very close to my heart.”

Barry Funston, Chief Executive of the Rory Foundation added; “We have been working with Sport Changes Life since early 2016, meeting the scholars in New York before they travelled to Ireland and watching the excellent work they do on the ground delivering meaningful change to disadvantaged children. We are delighted to be announcing this new initiative during the golf tournament giving two young people a fantastic opportunity to travel and mix business and sport. This programme brings a truly international dimension to the initiative and we could not be happier.”

The two DBI Victory Scholar positions will be filled by Jessica Boal, a talented young golfer from Northern Ireland, and Caitlin Bricketto, a tennis college-pro from the USA, both of whom have achieved undergraduate degrees from Ulster University and Manhattan College respectively while also competing in their chosen sport at an elite level.

The student-athletes, who were nominated by Irish Belfast-based charity, Sport Changes Life Foundation, will join 35 graduates from some of the world’s top universities, on the 2017/2018 DBI programme, a highly competitive business training programme.

The young graduates will spend an academic year in Dubai where they will gain an immersive academic grounding in international business, including placements with Dubai Duty Free and other Dubai entities. These placements will focus on building commercial skillsets, as well as exploring the future of sport and helping to shape initiatives to support youth sports participation and engagement.

Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO, Dubai Duty Free, commented: “We are proud to be part of this new partnership and particularly excited by the opportunities it creates to strengthen ties between communities, an important component in our sponsorship of major sporting events like the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. We look forward to welcoming the Dubai Business Internships Victory Scholars later this year, and I am sure the educational experience will be mutual as these bright young sports stars bring their energy and fresh perspectives into our business.”

James Maughan, Director of Dubai Business Internships (DBI), said, “We are thrilled to partner with Sport Changes Life Foundation to bring elite-level sports graduates into the DBI programme, which aims to foster future global leaders with the business acumen, cross-cultural understanding and innovative mind-set to transform industries. Sport is an important driver of economic growth as well as societal happiness and the potential for these young people to help envisage the future of sports is very exciting. We look forward to the many opportunities our collaboration with the Sport Changes Life Foundation will help create over the coming months and years.”

Victory Scholars was developed by the Sport Changes Life Foundation in conjunction with Ulster University. The unique programme brings elite-level US college athletes to the island of Ireland to complete graduate degrees whilst using the power of sport to transform young peoples’ lives through community initiatives. The Sport Changes Life Foundation is the Rory Foundation’s main beneficiary for this year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, helping to unlock new opportunities for the organisation to expand its impact.

Gareth Maguire, CEO and Co-Founder of Sport Changes Life Foundation, said, “This partnership opens up exciting new international opportunities for the young sports people we work with, whilst also sharing best practice between programmes and enabling us to develop new connections across Asia. The Sport Changes Life Foundation and Dubai Business Internships share a common goal to create transformative learning experiences that deliver far-reaching value, both for the young people on our programmes and for the communities and industries in which they live, study and work. Rory becoming the ambassador for our own scholarship programme has opened up so many opportunities. We all share a common goal in using sport to change the lives of young people, helping them raise their aspirations.”

Jessica and Caitlin will join the Victory Scholars Programme’s 2017 opening ceremony at the Nike HQ in New York City before travelling to Dubai for the commencement of the 10 month Dubai Business Internships programme on 27 August 2017.