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Coca-Cola Sends Two FAMU Students to FIFA World Cup

Adrienne B. Johnson (center), brand manager for Multicultural Marketing, Coca-Cola North America, takes a moment to take a picture with Florida A&M University students Justin Smith and Alisa Routh.  Smith and Routh were selected to participate in the Coca-Cola “Open Happiness Tour.”

June 23, 2010

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.
– Coca-Cola is giving two Florida A&M University (FAMU) students, Justin Smith and Alisa Routh, the opportunity to embark on cultural adventures against the backdrop of the world’s biggest sporting event. On June 25, the students will travel across the globe to Africa for the FIFA World Cup.

Smith, 20, a junior mathematics major, and Routh, 20, a junior public relations major, are the winners of the Coca-Cola “Open Happiness Tour,” a video contest that sought creative and inspirational answers to the question: How does the Coca-Cola RAIN program inspire you?

The FAMU students will travel with of 19 other student winners from 12 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

“The Open Happiness Tour allows Coca-Cola the opportunity to engage and inspire young African Americans while connecting them with their roots,” said Yolanda White, assistant vice president, African American Marketing, Coca-Cola North America. “We hope experiencing the diverse culture and meeting people who will be in South Africa for World Cup will inspire these students to view the world differently and make a commitment to creating a better place for everyone to live.”               

The winners will spend five days soaking up the South African culture and learning more about Africa’s water crisis. During their visit, the students will meet with executives from Coca-Cola South Africa, who will share what the Company is doing in support of the RAIN project as well as learn about other initiatives throughout Africa, including HIV/AIDS and malaria prevention, access to education, job creation and humanitarian assistance.

“This will be my first time leaving the country, and that makes this trip even more exciting because I have always wanted to see what the other side of the world is like,” said Smith, a native of Memphis, Tenn. “I plan to become a new person, better than I was yesterday.  I feel as though when a person explore new heights in life they have a better respect for life and gain motivation for wanting to do more.”

In addition, the students will see first-hand the extreme need for potable water when they visit a local orphanage whose water system is in dire need of repairs. The Company will make a donation to assist with the repairs of the water system and, once the project is completed, the orphanage will have clean running water for cooking, bathing and other necessities.

“I am still shocked and wondering why they picked me. It is wonderful that Coca-Cola is taking action to help solve some of the issues that face our world today,” said Routh a native of East Point, Ga. “I plan to gain a bigger understanding of people around the world and be a wonderful representative of my university.”

The students also will have the opportunity to explore more facets of South African culture when they take a trip to the Nelson Mandela National Museum, go on a Safari and attend a FIFA World Cup match. The students will get another perk during their time in South Africa – meeting with actor Idris Elba, whose father is from Sierra Leone and mother is from Ghana. Elba will spend time with the students throughout the trip, discussing water stewardship and its importance to Africa and his passion for the World Cup, as well as providing his unique perspective on the local culture.

“I look forward to sharing my love for Africa with the students,” said Elba. “Through experiencing Africa’s rich history and the wonderful diversity of its culture, the students will be amazed and enriched. I hope they grow to love Africa as much as I do.”

Elba is best known for his roles in HBO’s series The Wire, Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls and Ridley Scott’s award-winning film American Gangster.

Coca-Cola is the world’s largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands. The company serves more than 200 countries across the globe and focuses on its initiatives that protect the environment, conserve resources and enhance the economic development of the communities where they operate.
                       
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