A citizen of Italy, Giovanni Di Cola studied in Rome and Paris, earning a four-year Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Rome La Sapienza, a Master’s degree (DEA) from Sciences Po Paris in Soviet Studies, and a PhD in Development Economics from the University of Paris X (Ouest).
Mr Di Cola has a wide experience within the United Nations System, having served in various UN agencies (UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, and ILO) with assignments at the UN Staff College and the UN Secretariat, on matters related to the UN reform, Youth Leadership and Sport for Development and Peace.
His field experience spans more than 30 years starting with West Africa (Senegal and Niger) from 1983 to 1986 working in national (UNICEF), sub-regional (ILO) and regional offices (UNESCO); then in the regional office for Latin America and Caribbean (ILO) between 1994 and 1998 and in Trinidad and Tobago (ILO sub-regional office and Decent work team for the Caribbean) between 2009-2015.
In the above capacities he dealt with topics related to strategic programming, gender, development cooperation and partnerships, labour-based programmes, youth employment and skills, human rights and sport and management and executive leadership.
In 2015, he was appointed Special Adviser to the Deputy Director General for Field Operations and Partnerships at the ILO in Geneva dealing with UN reform, Sustainable Development Goals, global partnerships, and Mega Sporting Events and human and labour rights.
Since 2016, he was instrumental in establishing the multistakeholder initiative as Centre for Sport and Human Rights in 2021, to which he ensured that ILO could be represented as founding member and permanent observer.
He was lead expert of the ILO Global Forum on Decent work in the world of sport of January 2020, in which the ILO Points of Consensus were adopted.
He published more than 20 articles and books on decent work agenda in sport, skills in and through sport, sport and tourism, human rights, and local economic development and sport.
He has been acting as ILO Focal Person on sport and development since 2001 and contributed to the first Report by the UN Secretary General on Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) in 2003. He assisted the UN Special Adviser on SDP (and former President of the Swiss Confederation) between 2003-2006.
He served as Board Member and Chair of reform committees of international sport federations in 2004-06 and in 2016-19 and provided advice to the IOC for its Sustainability strategy adopted in 2017.
He was appointed as the Officer in Charge of the ILO Office for Türkiye and assumed his duties as of 1 April 2023.
He is fluent in French, English, Spanish and Italian (mother tongue).
Swedish Olympic Committee
Swedish Basketball Federation
Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences
Hayley is a Professor of Disability Sport at Leeds Beckett University, England. She is an internationally recognised expert in the area of disability, PE and youth sport. Hayley is committed to including all young people with disabilities within research and has been at the forefront of developments associated with creating accessible and participatory research approaches. Her research activities have culminated in multiple award-winning publications which have helped to shape the field. Hayley is actively involved in teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students and believes their education is key to ensuring the next generation of sports leaders promote inclusive opportunities for all. Prior to becoming an academic, Hayley worked and volunteered for a range of disability sport organisations. Currently, she is the Director of Unorthobox, a community interest group supporting people from all backgrounds to participate in ‘non-contact’ boxing.