Our July WebDebate focuses on sports diplomacy. Sport brings people together – nations, leaders, and citizens. Large-scale sporting events such as the Olympics or the Football World Cup are often seen as instances that unite states and individuals under a common goal and help to put differences aside – at least for the time of the event as per the mantra of the Olympic Truce. Similarly, exchanges between athletes of countries with an antagonistic relationship are said to help promote peaceful relations. The so-called ping-pong diplomacy between the US and the People’s Republic of China comes to mind by way of popular example – though critical analysis of the phenomena of sport and diplomacy goes beyond this type of example. In terms of post-conflict reconciliation, the UN Office on Sport for Development and Peace argues that sport programmes are a door opener for bringing those involved in conflict back together.
To what extent is it worth unpacking ideas about sports diplomacy and looking at the extent to which sport can be a tool for diplomacy and peace. We need to ask: what forms does sports diplomacy take? Who are the actors involved? Is sports diplomacy more than propaganda by other means and to what extent can it contribute to peace?
For this WebDebate we are joined by Dr J Simon Rofe and Mr Sean Hamil.
Dr Rofe is Senior Lecturer in Diplomacy and International Studies and Global Diplomacy Programme Director at SOAS, University of London. Dr Rofe has worked extensively on sport diplomacy as a concept and practice. He edited a special issue on sport diplomacy in the journal Diplomacy & Statecraft in 2016, which included his article on ‘Sport and Diplomacy. A Global Diplomacy Framework’, and has two volumes forthcoming on the subject with Manchester University Press and Cornell University Press respectively.
Mr Sean Hamil is a Lecturer in Management at the Department of Management at Birkbeck, University of London. He is also a director of the Birkbeck Sport Business Centre, the academic research centre for the study of sport business, and is a member of the Scientific Committee of the Master in European Sport Governance (MESGO) programme which is supported by six of Europe’s major sport governing bodies including UEFA. Before entering academic life, he was a business analyst and researcher focusing on corporate social and environmental responsibility. He has written extensively on the subject of governance and ownership structures in professional football in particular.
Join us on Tuesday, 4 July, at 10:00 UTC (12:00 CEST). Please note that the time of the debate has changed. On this occasion, it takes place one hour earlier than usual. Register to reserve your place.
About our WebDebates
The WebDebates on the future of diplomacy are live streamed on the first Tuesday of every month. They are organised by DiploFoundation within the framework of the International Forum on Diplomatic Training (IFDT). Learn more about our series of WebDebates.
If you form part of a dynamic circle of practitioners in your community, we encourage you to establish a diplomatic hub to follow the WebDebates and to facilitate discussions. For more information, contact Ms Mina Mudric, DiploFoundation.