RIOU Launches Landmark International Course

RIOU's Brand Building and Communications Programme to break new ground in Olympic education

      Sochi, Russia, 2 September 2011: The Russian International Olympic University (RIOU) in Sochi today announced its first ever international course – a pioneering Brand Building and Communications Programme set to become one of the world's leading Olympic-oriented education programmes for sports managers when it launches this November.

      RIOU issued a global call for applications for the course today, targeting sports organisations aspiring to the very highest echelons of world sport. The course will run from 14 to 25 November 2011 at the institution's headquarters in the next Winter Games host city. The innovative 10-day programme will be delivered in conjunction with one of the sports industry's most respected brand building and communications experts, Jon Tibbs. The team of renowned guest lecturers will also include leading experts from Russia, as well as top BBC broadcaster, David Eades, and sports journalist and IOC Press Commission member, Alan Abrahamson.

      Professor Lev Belousov, Chief Executive Officer of RIOU, outlined the motivation behind putting together this unique course:

      ‘In the current climate, sports organisations are finding it more and more difficult to win the share of voice they need, to interact effectively with stakeholders and key audiences. A coherent brand architecture and sophisticated communications strategy are now more important than ever before. Our Brand Building and Communications Programme will help organisations from all over the world and in every sphere of sport meet that pressing need.'

      The first week of the course will centre on why behaving like a brand and professionalising communications is a vital step for every ambitious sports organisation, alongside the core principles of brand building and media relations. The second week will have a more practical focus and address topics including communication strategies, issues management, media training, social media and evaluation techniques.

      Jon Tibbs, whose agency JTA is working with RIOU to develop the course's cutting edge content, emphasised what sets this programme apart:

      ‘I am convinced that this Brand Building and Communications Programme will deliver real, tangible value to sports organisations. Delegates will benefit from hands-on, highly interactive classroom sessions, lectures, debates and case studies, and the invaluable expertise of some of the world's top specialists. JTA is honoured to be a part of this historic moment in RIOU's history – it's first ever international course – and I'm sure this partnership can help us raise the bar for brand building and communications across the sports industry.'

       The deadline for applications is 15 October 2011. To request an application pack or for more information, please contact

      RIOU has the full backing of the Russian Olympic Committee and its President, Alexander Zhukov, and the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee and its President and CEO, Dmitry Chernyshenko. It was officially established on 21 October 2009, under the auspices of the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee, the Russian Olympic Committee, the Russian Federal Government, represented by the Ministry of Sport, Tourism and Youth Policy and the holding company Interros. Russia's Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, is Chair of RIOU's Board of Trustees. Further information on RIOU is available at the unique institution's website.

     RIOU's mission is to deliver the professional training of management resources for the sports industry in Russia and worldwide, and for the Olympic and Paralympic Movements. RIOU will offer programmes ranging from 10-day short courses to PhD level, in a range of disciplines under the Olympic Games Management umbrella, including: Media, Events, Careers, Governance and Venues.