sports diplomacy

A sailboat race to Cuba and an international art exhibit are highlighted in this week's roundup.

The second annual Conch Republic Cup/Key West Cuba Race Week set for Jan. 22-to Feb. 3 is the only triangle race to Cuba [...] “We include buoy racing in Havana which allows Cuban racers to take part,” said Karen Angle, the event’s executive director. “Also, there is built-in down time to allow the participants to enjoy Cuba in this ‘Cultural Exchange Through Sport.’”

Football for Peace (FFP) is a diplomatic sports movement that aims at using the power of sports to harness its potential to unite, and create greater understanding between people, communities and governments. Football for Peace aims at achieving integration of people from diverse background through creating awareness, working at every level from government to community. 

As Heather Dichter pointed out in her 2014 H-Diplo essay, a conundrum of sport diplomacy, perhaps its signal paradox, is the extent to which nations have used sport as a proving ground on the world stage. [...] Current American and global politics and their illumination on the playing field demonstrate the extent to which actors within and sometimes without a country deepen understanding of how politics and sport work in the international arena. 

Ambassador of Pakistan to France Moin ul Haque talking to Mayor of Paris 8, Jeanne d' Hauteserre on Tuesday said that people to people contacts will improve as Pakistan and France work for strengthening their cooperation in the area of culture, sports and education.

January 2, 2017

Presidents can influence sports. Dwight Eisenhower attempted to improve relations with the Soviet Union in the late 1950s with a sports and cultural exchange program. Richard Nixon opened trade with China after a ping pong tournament between the US and China and Nixon’s effort was named “ping pong diplomacy” in the early 1970s.

Tetsundo Tanabe was running a kendo dojo in Yokohama when he came up with an idea on how children could avoid the pain of getting smashed over the head with a bamboo sword. His solution was simple: Use softer weapons. [...] Forty-five years after that brainstorm, 400,000 people in 65 countries and regions are playing Tanabe’s invention, called sports “chanbara” (sword fighting), or “spochan” for short. 

One way for North Americans to transcend the ugliness of politics and assert a shared identity would be by hosting a World Cup together. The 2026 World Cup is the next one to be awarded, and the North American region is a strong contender, given the tournament’s traditional rotation among continents. Both Mexico and the U.S. are expected to submit compelling bids.