sports diplomacy

With the International Olympic Committee (IOC) set to have chosen Paris over Los Angeles as the site for the 2024 Olympics, it is timely to ask: Is hosting the Olympics good for a nation’s brand, and do they provide a good financial return on investment? [...] He also noted that the concept of nation-branding pervaded China’s handling of the 2008 Beijing games. “In China their goal was broad recognition as a leader on the global stage.” He said that China was largely successful, but that in terms of political reputation, the country was thrown into a negative light.

Now that Qatar is embroiled in controversy with nearly the entire Sunni Islamic world, led by Saudi Arabia, the 2022 FIFA World Cup is suddenly at risk. The Qatar World Cup has been dogged by controversy since the day it was announced in 2012. But even years of international and humanitarian moral outrage could not do to Qatar what Saudi Arabia proved able to do almost instantly: isolate Qatar’s ruling emir and take away his biggest soft-power achievement.

The Afghan Cricket Board (ACB) on Thursday said it had cancelled all matches and agreements with Pakistan after the Afghan intelligence linked the Pakistani intelligence agency to the Kabul bombing that left 90 dead and 463 wounded. [...] Kabul and Islamabad had recently reached an agreement to play two friendly matches in Kabul and in Pakistan's Lahore city, besides two series of matches in Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates, and other agreements on sports.

There has always been an inherent connection between sports and politics. The cooperation and collaboration intrinsic in team sports aid in nation-building by rousing patriotism and pride. Sportsmanship and camaraderie can strengthen domestic relations or can be magnified as diplomatic relations between states. [...] The role of sports as a form of soft power is more relevant than ever as we look ahead to the 2018 Olympics hosted by South Korea in PyeongChang and the role of international organizations.

Nowadays, one of the most historically charged rivalries on the international stage is that between Pakistan and India, and nowhere is it bigger than in the sport the countries are best at: cricket. India and Pakistan have been playing cricket against each other since 1952, and the game has become a metaphor of sorts for the countries’ relationship. In fact, the politics between the two nations and the games on the field are so intertwined that a phrase was coined: Cricket Diplomacy. 

Sports has the power to unite the world like little else or so proves a documentary on the UAE fotoball team. The Emirates Diplomatic Academy, as part of its Culture Week, screened Lights of Rome - a documentary on the incredible journey of the UAE's national football team to 1990 Fifa World Cup Italy. The heroics of the Golden Generation of footballers in 1990 placed the UAE on the world map and also provided a glimpse of the progress the country was set to make in future. More importantly, the world stage provided an opportunity to showcase the Emirati culture and promote the country.

Recent news from North Korea has focused on missile launches and nuclear tests. But when it comes to diplomacy, there may be a lesson from history – and sports. Asia Pacific Management consultant Ray Tsuchiyama shares some thoughts in this commentary. [...] Sports makes friends.  Like 1971’s Ping-Pong diplomacy, let’s give soccer a chance to create a lasting peace on the Korean peninsula.