Episode #61 Returning Home & the Power of Sport in South Sudan with Jess Markt and Malat Wei

Episode #61 Returning Home & the Power of Sport in South Sudan with Jess Markt and Malat Wei

In this episode of Intercross the Podcast, we are coming to you from Juba, South sudan. Following a two week wheelchair basketball training program, we sit down with two athletes from radically different worlds. Malat Wei was a young child when his family was forced to flee South Sudan, shortly after he contracted polio and lost the use of his legs. Though he grew up in an Ethiopian refugee camp, he fell in love with sports, spending his long days at the camp playing soccer with his able-bodied friends. Malat would use only his hands to navigate the dusty pitch. At age 12, his family was resettled as refugees in Texas where a few years later he was introduced to wheelchair basketball by a member of his church. He was immediately hooked. Now 24, he plays university-level wheelchair basketball in Arizona, after a successful stint playing professionally in France from 2015-2016.

Jess Markt is from Denver, Colorado. At age 19, he was in a car accident that left him paralyzed from the chest down. Previously a college track-and-field star, wheelchair basketball was a major factor in Jess’ recovery, both physically and mentally. He now serves as the ICRC’s Diversity, Inclusion and Sports Advisor and coaches disabled athletes in war zones, including Afghanistan, South Sudan and the Gaza Strip. Several years ago, Jess and Malat met at a tournament in New Mexico and their friendship was born. When Malat discovered that Jess was coaching in South Sudan, he pitched the idea of going with him to help coach athletes back in his home country.

And that’s just what they did.

Hosted by Niki Clark.

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Episode #44 Innovating Integration: Sport, Diversity & Inclusion as Part of the Humanitarian Approach

Episode #44 Innovating Integration: Sport, Diversity & Inclusion as Part of the Humanitarian Approach

In this episode of Intercross the Podcast, we sit down with ICRC’s Jess Markt, an American who coaches wheelchair basketball in war zones. At age 19, he suffered a spinal cord injury in college. Twenty one years later, he is bringing his experience and story to help others as ICRC’s first-ever Disability, Sport and Inclusion Advisor. In this conversation, we discuss his personal triumph over adversity  and how he brings that experience to the disabled in some of the world’s most dangerous contexts. From Afghanistan to South Sudan and Cambodia, Jess is using sport to help the disabled see themselves in a different light, and witnessing some radical societal transformations along the way. We talk about diversity, what that term really means, and how he’s using his role at ICRC to change the way that people, and humanitarian organizations, think about what it means to fully integrate diversity into their work. Hosted by Anna Nelson and Sara Owens.

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Episode #16 Best in the Game: The Dynamic Duo behind ICRC's Wheelchair Basketball in Afghanistan with Jess Markt and Alberto Cairo

Episode #16 Best in the Game: The Dynamic Duo behind ICRC's Wheelchair Basketball in Afghanistan with Jess Markt and Alberto Cairo

In this episode of Intercross the Podcast, Sara Owens is joined by two delegates who have paved the way for the ICRC to adopt sport and inclusion as a priority for the physically disabled communities in conflict-affected countries. Alberto Cairo, one of the ICRC’s most revered delegates, has been in Kabul, Afghanistan with the ICRC’s orthopedic and physical rehabilitation program for 27 years. He was recently joined in Kabul by Jess Markt, an avid wheelchair basketball player and coach, where together, they built the ICRC’s first and largest wheelchair basketball program.Hosted by Sara Owens.

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