Today (18 September), people in Scotland are exactly one year away from the all important day when our citizens will vote on the future direction of their country. Gaining control of how Scotland will engage with the wider world is an important consequence of that vote. For me, an independent Scotland is not - and never will be - an end in itself.
The first weekend in August proved to be one huge celebration for the Caribbean country of Jamaica. While the success of Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce at the 2012 Olympic Games might have garnered most of the attention, the country was already firmly in the process of celebrating a rather more important milestone: fifty years of Jamaican independence.
A well-defined and accurate national identity is, in many ways, a defined national strategy and as the world's focus has shifted for a moment toward its own economic woes and unrest, South Sudan and nations around the globe in a similarly early or developing stage, will need to muster as much internal strength, of character and otherwise, that they possibly can.
The link between football, identity, unity and nationhood is so strong that many newly-found states, or states divided by war, have used the soft power of football to achieve hard political aim.
“We are currently sponsoring a police officer to study Chinese at the Confucius institute at the University of Botswana to help eliminate language barriers.” China is allegedly trying to strengthen people to people relationships in a renewed bid to further nurture exchanges and co-operation, improve good will, enhance enrichment of development experiences and provide intellectual support...
“Dawn rolling over, the clouds bring the rain, it’s time to start over, time to join hands.” These were the first lines of Kosovo’s last year’s campaign reaching out to the world. The lyrics give an idea of the country’s continuing challenges. On February 17, Kosovo celebrates the third anniversary of its independence.