Doha opens its doors to Johan Cruyff University

Professional Dutch handball players & students, Mark and Stefan Schilder, participate in the Doha Goals Forum, the most important international sports congress in the world.


Qatar is a small country geographically-speaking, yet immense in resources. The economic power of this Arab Emirate, with the highest income per capita in the world, is so great that the saying “if there’s a will, there’s a way” is apparent before the world’s eyes. It does not provide renowned athletes, but it can boast having the most important international competitions in the world.

The Motorcycle World Championships have been kicking off in Doha, the capital, for years now; and the Qatar Master kicks off the tennis season; the Tour of Qatar is one of the world’s cycling circuits and, recently, has been chosen to host the Handball World Cup in 2015 and the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Icons of the king sports such as Romario, Batistuta, Real Madrid’s Raul and Michel Salgado, Fernando Hierro, or the De Boer brothers, clubs such as FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain, have been seduced by a country that doesn’t skimp on dollars.

And if sports are a luxury showcase, it’s been a luxury for Johan Cruyff University Amsterdam students participating as ambassadors in the Doha Goals Forum, one of the biggest international sports congresses on the planet, which was held November 3 to 5. Twin brothers Mark and Stefan Schilder, professional handball players for Jong KRAS Volendam, participated in discussions and workshops with world leaders from the sports industry along with 400 students from around the world, with the aim of creating partnerships and initiatives to address the most pressing social problems through sport. “It’s been a unique opportunity for young professionals like us who are in sports management to, through sport, intervene in social causes and cooperate at the international level.”

Sport, a weapon to fight obesity

The case study that impressed the brothers the most was the ‘It takes a village’ project. “It was about proposing sport-based initiatives to fight obesity,” Mark explained. “There are millions of people in the world who suffer from this disease and we all know that sport has the ability to create community, but one of the main challenges is how to reach young people. The youth is the future and the main target group to reduce obesity by its ability to change their habits.”

The case study consisted of discussing ways to promote sport in elementary schools around the world and integrate concepts such as health and nutrition. Our idea, Mark Schilder said, is to “use the great power that social networks and games now have to attract the attention of young people regarding this issue”.


Johan Cruyff Institute offers a Master in Sports Management (1 year) and a Master in Sports Marketing and Sponsorship (13 months), both online degrees, starting March 2, 2015.

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