sports diplomacy

A goal kick away from the Toa Payoh Stadium are reminders of the once-close ties between Myanmar and this Singapore neighborhood, home to the Burmese Buddhist Temple and streets named for the towns and rivers of the Golden Land. The arena hosts Balestier Khalsa Football Club, of Singapore's professional soccer league, and sits in the middle of a community which arrived from the country then known as Burma in the 1940s and 1950s.

Set for March 25, the game – Kosovo against Iceland – is part of the first round of qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. But it is much more than a simple football match. Sports diplomacy has been the most successful strategy implemented by Kosovo to garner international recognition. It’s been nine years since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia, after Kosovo Albanians sought independence during the Yugoslavian wars. 

Cricket diplomacy has thus long been used as a tool to bring the public in both India and Pakistan closer to each other through sport. For nearly 70 years, the scheduling (or cancelling) of matches has served as a signal of the state of political relations.

As the euphoria surrounding the inclusion of these ten athletes from Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo fizzles out, several questions linger. What does the creation of Team ROA mean, and whom does this team actually represent? What are the legacies of this move? We argue that the creation of Team ROA should be celebrated as a call for more awareness of the world’s refugees. 

Over the past few years, the UAE’s multitude of diplomatic initiatives have included cultural diplomacy — such as an exhibition of Emirati art that toured nine US cities over two years and was titled Past Forward. This was in addition to major artistic events the UAE hosts including the Sharjah Biennial, Art Dubai and Abu Dhabi Art that bring thousands of people together. [...] However, very few of us know about the UAE’s historic role in sports diplomacy.

Skateboarders can often be proudly stupid. We relish in action, not thought. So whenever someone starts talking about how skateboarding can be a passport to connect with people across cultures, or starts going off about the power skating can have for the marginalized, we’re often quick to get defensive and write off such thoughts as self-serious pretention.

Harnessing young people's enthusiasm for football and sports in general is a useful and interesting way to offer opportunities for personal and professional growth, said Rubem Cesar Fernandes, executive director of Viva Rio, a Brazilian NGO focusing on development through innovative projects. [...] Viva Rio has established the Black Pearls Academy, a high-performance football training centre for young athletes from refugee and underprivileged communities in Brazil and Haiti.

February 10, 2017

U.S. football players visit Israel while Budweiser highlights immigration during the Super Bowl 

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