Who we are
The Howe International Friendship League (HIFL) is a series of international events with the simple objectives of promoting goodwill and building friendship between cultures around the world through the power of sport, as well as supporting sport programs for local communities and for individuals with intellectual disabilities. We partner with community organizations to find teams of local participants that are eager to practice their skills and highlight their culture and homeland. International guests are able to sign up individually or in groups to travel abroad and play their favorite sport and experience the community in a way that ordinary tourists simply can’t.
Many of our games do get quite intense – at our first event in Pyongyang, in March 2016, several games needed overtime to determine the victor. However, all games are played in the spirit of friendship and peacebuilding. What truly matters in the end is only the friendships, charitable and development impact and shared memories that the experience produces.
All events contain a mixture of games and training sessions as well as a final “friendship game” which will see international and local players mix teams to play side by side.
The Howe International Friendship League (HIFL) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Howe International Consulting Group (HICG). The HICG is primarily a consulting firm specializing in economic and social development. It was on a 2014 trip to Pyongyang with an NGO to deliver workshops to entrepreneurs inside a Special Economic Zone outside Pyongyang that HICG managing partner Scott Howe first thought about bringing hockey players to the DPRK. This marked the beginning of the Friendship League adventure.
The objectives of the Howe International Friendship League are simple:
- Provide an unforgettable experience to our participants who share our passion about the world and its people
- Promote goodwill and build friendship between cultures around the world through the power of sport
- Foster socially inclusive communities through capacity building and local development programs
- Support sport programs for individuals with intellectual disabilities
Sports Programs for People with Intellectual Disabilities
The Howe International Consulting Group (HICG) has a long history of supporting programs for people with intellectual disabilities. During the first annual DPRK ice hockey tournament, we partnered with local organizations to run sports programs for children with intellectual disabilities at a children’s center in Pyongyang. Prior to engaging in this project, we were unsure what to expect. To our delight, we were met by parents and caregivers with the same aspirations for the children that we witness in Canada.
We believe sport provides people with disabilities the opportunity to find their own place in society through discovering new strengths and talents therefore making their living healthier, happier and longer.