Sports and diplomacy
Sport is the social phenomenon and also universal language which the whole global society is speaking with. Even against differences which are present in society, sport has a potential to solve complex problems which cross the border of states and within communities.
There are several concrete examples when sports diplomacy has improved relations between countries, and it is also a powerful tool to connect communities. An Australian example of this is the Classic Wallabies’ Indigenous Exchange which offers short-term volunteering and learning exchanges for Indigenous Australians taking them South Africa and local-based programs working with communities like Oodnadatta. The Classic Wallabies’ Indigenous exchange is an initiative by the Eidos Institute and is an example of how sport can facilitate the connection between indigenous communities across borders. The Classic Wallabies’ Indigenous Exchange is a response to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs inquiry into the Contribution of Sport to Indigenous Wellbeing and Mentoring which included a report on “Sport - More than just a game”. Sports has long been viewed as an important activity that has held a place in the hearts of Aboriginal communities around Australia. There is also evidence to support the role that sport for many communities provides opportunities for community development, cohesiveness, health, employment and education.
Sports diplomacy also plays a significant role in the international relations of Australia. The Commonwealth Government and the Department of Foreign Affairs launched an “Australian Sports Diplomacy Strategy” with the mission of growing Australia’s sports credentials and assets in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond between 2015 to 2018. Historically, sports has proven to be an important soft power tool. In 1971, “Ping-pong diplomacy” noticeably improved relations between the United States of America and China. In this case, table tennis became a starting lane for the beginning of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two mentioned states with utterly different political administrations. At that time, a few months earlier, this would have been seen as infeasible. In 2011, relations between Pakistan and India were eased also through the “Cricket diplomacy” which improved the bilateral geopolitical relations.
In this Challenge, we would like you to share your thinking about sport and how this can contribute to broader policy debates and development to support community aspirations at a grassroots level.
Challenge Opened: 01:57 AM, Friday 20 July 2018
Challenge Closes: 02:00 PM, Thursday 09 August 2018
Time to go: Closed