24 July 2017

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Tuesday, 25 July 2017: Sister Madonna Buder, the nun who gained worldwide fame as ‘The Iron Nun’ for her iconic participation at a succession of triathlons and Ironmans across the globe, is to join the speaker list for the acclaimed International Conference of Sports for Women (ICSW) this November.

Sister Madonna joins a line-up of esteemed athletes and industry professionals for the fourth edition of the ICSW, which will be held in the UAE capital from 6-7 November 2017, and will take part in a panel discussion titled “Sports Across Generations: Opportunities and Challenges.

First organized by the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy (FBMA) in 2012, ICSW has grown to become an internationally-acclaimed platform to discuss all topics related to women’s sports. It seeks to address the most pertinent issues that women face in the world of sport, and to promote H.H. Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak’s vision for sport to become a part of daily life for UAE national women. The fourth edition of the conference is set to take place from 6-7 November at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) under the theme “Inspiring Generations”.

The conference will feature an array of keynote speeches, panel discussions and workshops, all revolving around the event theme, in addition to a marketplace featuring exhibits from sponsors and other organizations from within the sports industry. The full list of panel discussions and workshops can be accessed through the event website www.fbma.ae/icsw.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Sister Madonna was active from an early age and became an equestrian champion, but she was never the seasoned athlete she is today. At 23 she decided to follow her “true calling” by becoming a nun, and joined a convent in her home town. Years later, she met a priest who advised her to take up running which he had found to be of great benefit to the body and mind. Soon the activity became a passion too for Sister Madonna and she grew adamant that she wanted to take part in a running race. After having completed her first race in 1978, she heard about the Ironman triathlon and, despite the arduous challenge, particularly at a time when conditions were much harsher for athletes, she was willing to take it on.

Sister Madonna completed her very first triathlon at the age of 52 in Spokane, Washington , using a bike that was obtained by a  benefactor  at a Police auction, and by swimming through cold waters without the use of a wetsuit. As of today, she has completed over 377 triathlons, including 45 Ironman races, an extraordinary feat which has earned her the title ‘The Iron Nun’. In 2012, at the age of 82, she broke the record for being the oldest person to complete an Ironman triathlon after finishing the Subaru Ironman Canada and, in 2014, she was inducted into the U.S. Triathlon Hall of Fame.

Away from her life as a triathlete and a nun, Sister Madonna is also a motivational speaker who seeks to spread her message of positivity and love to the entire world. She also contributes to a number of charities and non-profit organizations and volunteers to help inmates at the county jail in Spokane, where her ministry is located. Of her participation at ICSW 2017, Sister Madonna says:

“I truly admire the conference’s effort to inspire others and to help build a better future for all. I don’t like to refer to myself as an inspiration, but I do believe in my duty to encourage others to become the happiest and most positive versions of themselves that they can be; and that is why I’m happy to be coming to Abu Dhabi this November to help spread this message for the future generations.”

“I’ve learned a lot through my journey,” continued Sister Madonna. “I am now 86 and I still feel like there is a lot more to learn. Through ICSW I’m not only looking to share the lessons and experiences I have gained, but to learn about others and grow from hearing about the unique perspectives they have to offer. It’s very important to always have this kind of space where everyone can share their experiences, hopes and dreams in order to create constructive dialogue that helps us all better understand ourselves and others to build a better future.”

The fourth ICSW will be held from 6-7 November at ADNEC. Registrations are now open and free for all those who wish to attend, but spaces are limited. Those who are interested in attending the conference are encouraged to register as soon as possible through the event’s website http://fbma.ae/icswto guarantee a spot at the conference. International delegates can take advantage of the accommodation offers provided by ICSW’s partner, The Marriott Downtown Abu Dhabi, which can be accessed through http://fbma.ae/en/icsw/2017/venue-accommodation/accommodation/