WLO team visited the Brazilian city and met local partners Sesc São Paulo and the University of São Paulo to move forward in the organization of the upcoming WL Congress 2018. During the visit, WLO Chief Operating Officer, Communication & Events Coordinator, and Programme Coordinator had the opportunity not only to visit the centers of Sesc Pompeia and Sesc Pinheiros (the latter being the venue of the Congress) and meet the scholars of the University of São Paulo, leading the Congress’ Scientific Committee, but also to get to know other researchers and professors from other universities, as well as some centers that will complete the Congress Scientific Programme.

While the Operational Committee meeting was dedicated to logistic and organizational issues, the Scientific Committee meeting served to finalize the thematic areas of the Congress, which will merge with the recently created, member-driven WLO Special Interest Groups (SIGs). These thematic areas (which can be checked here) are the result of an effort to combine the interests of the leisure studies community worldwide with the concerns of the Latin American, and specially Brazilian scientific community in the Leisure field. The programme of the Congress will be completed with the Field School – specially designed for international students in the leisure field who want to gain immediate practical experience with real case studies. Furthermore, it was suggested that a study tour could be organized the days prior to the main Congress, providing delegates with the opportunity to meet the professionals behind the most relevant leisure infrastructures in the city, among which: Galeria Estação, Instituto Tomie Ohitake, Paralympic Training Centre, Parque da Juventude, Museu do Futebol, or Memorial.

WLO Chief Operating Officer of WLO, Dr. Cristina Ortega, highlighted the particularly symbolic meaning of this return of the Congress to the city of São Paulo after 20 years. In 1998, on the occasion of the 5th WL Congress, the Brazilian city witnessed the elaboration of São Paulo Declaration – Leisure in a Globalized Society. The discussion on “Leisure Beyond Constraints” in this new edition of the Congress will be a chance to retrace past steps, but also to look at future challenges and plan together the next moves.