It is my belief that organisations and leaders have an obligation to be future and forward looking, ambitious and far reaching in their strategic view.

Sport and Olympism and the Olympic movement’s greater responsibility is to address urgent issues, contribute to societal prosperity and be committed to improving the state of the country. In difficult and tough times, leaders must give people hope that together we can create a better tomorrow.

On Friday, I was invited to deliver the feature address at the First Citizens Sports Foundation Awards on the theme “Hope, Inspiration, Beginning”.

Due to a number of requests I am sharing the address in today’s column.

Sport is the great equaliser; an international and universal language that allows us to speak eloquently the words of hope, inspiration and beginning and the national watchwords of “Discipline, Tolerance and Production”.

As our beloved T&T endures through probably the toughest social and economic times in decades, let us put on our armour of hope; bridge the gap; take a leap of faith.

Dream with me for a minute; soar into the future. Paint a picture of safe, stable and prosperous T&T where sport is one of the pillars of our economic diversification; where every child in every school and community experiences the joys of sport, physical education and physical literacy. We are an example to the world of gender equality, best practice in sports governance—our sports media, sports medicine professionals, coaches, officials, our sportsmen and sportswomen, our sports research and development, and technology are world-class and in demand globally.

Our dream is influenced by the lens of hope, inspiration and a new beginning.

The challenges, obstacles and problems of this moment are but a blink of an eye in eternity. Let us not choose to see the world through the lens of fear, despair, pettiness and self interest. Let us not let the toxic minority, crime, corruption and bacchanal define us all.

When we believe something we act as if it is true. Our beliefs strongly influence our behaviour. They motivate and shape what we do. Beliefs shape our experience.

Life is a stage and all of us have a part to play. This is the time we are called to be our own masterpiece, to be our best self. Tough times don’t last. Tough, resilient, creative and innovative people do.

Hope inspires resolve and an indomitable will to greet each day as a new beginning.

Our history provides hope and inspiration. Our forefathers and mothers and the generations before us, inspired by the fires of hope and prayer and with boundless faith in the destiny of these islands of the blue Caribbean Sea, stood side by side to forge a brighter future. Theirs is an unfinished race. The baton is in our hands. It’s our duty, responsibility and obligation to share the burden and be the tip of the spear.

In 1962, T&T became an independent nation. That same year the Sports Foundation was established. In 2004, First Citizens became the Sports Foundation partner. A new beginning that stood on the shoulders of hope and inspiration.

The First Citizens Sports Foundation Awards are a symbol of the hope and the inspiration that motivates champions on the field of sport and in life. Congratulations to all the nominees and those who will be announced as 2016 the First Citizens Sports Foundation Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year and those who will receive the Lystra Lewis Award and the Jeffery Stollmeyer award.

Thank you to the Sports Foundation and First Citizens. Continue to envision the bigger picture. Continue to be in the vanguard of nation building and providing through sport, the hope and inspiration that the future is brighter to the children and youth of T&T.

Hope of a better, brighter future inspires us all. Let us encourage each other to be awesome. Be extraordinary. Be the hope that inspires others in particular the children and the youth of our beloved T&T .

EDITOR’S NOTE: Brian Lewis is the President of Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the organisation.