: Royal Life Saving Bahrain (RLSB), the first water safety and drowning prevention organization in the Kingdom participated in the Sportswomen for Change Leadership Forum held last month at The National Centre for Indigenous Excellence, Australia.

The forum is supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Council for Australian-Arab Relations which provides platform which facilitates the exchange of knowledge in order to challenge global misconceptions and promote the formation of relationships across cultural boundaries. Delegates from around the world attended the event and took part in a number of theoretical and practical workshops as well as discussions to promote societal change through sports and other creative tools.

Representing RLSB at the forum as one of the Arab nations participating was 2-time Olympic swimmer and Skills Development Executive at RLSB, Sameera Al Bitar, who attended the week-long residential program and participated in a ‘Women in Sport for Social Change’ panel discussion facilitated by Senior Reporter and Anchor for ABC News, Tracey Holmes. The discussion comprised of a number of local leaders and international guests who discussed from both a local and global perspective the pertinent issues faced by women in sport.

Commenting on the occasion, Sameera Al Bitar said, “It has been such an honor to be able to represent the Kingdom of Bahrain at this event and I am very pleased to have been able to have been given this opportunity to participate and grow both personally and professionally. Through my participation I have been able to meet people from the Arab world who are working for sports development in their respective countries and we were able to discuss and exchange our knowledge and ideas.”

The panel allowed for the exchange of strategies with regards using the power of sport as a tool to challenge misconceptions and promote positive change, which is in line with RLSB’s commitment to spreading awareness on water safety and urging the public to learn how to swim. In addition to saving lives, swimming also has other advantages such as being a recreational activity with many health benefits and career prospects and RLSB continuously strives to alter the Bahraini public’s perception of the sport.

RLSB has long since had strong ties with Australia, the world leaders in water safety through their partnership with Life Saving Victoria, whose vision is to enable all communities to learn water safety, swimming and resuscitation, and be provided with safe beaches, water environments and aquatic venues. Life Saving Victoria also played an integral role in developing their water safety strategy in Bahrain