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European sport diplomacy

Revue 49 of the Think tank Sport and Citizenship

The current health crisis has been seen by many people as the chance to create something new and to develop new solutions to problems. Climate change, social inequality, the economic crisis and uncertainties in the health sector: there is no lack of challenges and they have been thrown into stark relief in recent weeks. Where is sport in all this? What role can it play in rebuilding society? In April we decided to join the debate, with a series of contributions from our network. This was nothing new for us: we have been present for more than 13 years now, when our Think Tank was set up. Using the potential of sport and physical activity in leading different policies, making sense of economic commitment by respecting individuals and the environment, constructing socially useful projects, and measuring their effectiveness.

The special focus in this quarter’s issue illustrates this capacity for change. Four years ago we focused on sporting diplomacy, we wanted to have another look at this approach today, in the light of the current situation seen from the European point of view. The expertise of members of the “Promoting a Strategic Approach to EU Sport Diplomacy” (EUSD) project coordinated by Edge Hill University and supported by the European Union’s Erasmus+ Sport programme will allow you to discover the issues involved in European Sport Diplomacy as well as thoughts about how to include this sector in the diplomacy of the EU and the Member States.

This revue was produced with the help of Edge Hill University and the EUSD project consortium, and we would like to thank them for their confidence in us.



Point of view of the European Parliament

Sabine Verheyen, Chair of the European Parliament’s Culture and Education Committee, German MEP


Exclusive interview

Mariya Gabriel, In charge of innovation, research, education, culture and youth at the European Commission


Special feature – European sport diplomacy

“How Sport ended up in the Diplomats’ Toolbox?”
Simon Rofe, Reader in Diplomatic and International Studies, SOAS University of London (United Kingdom)

“A European Union High Level Group on Sport Diplomacy”
Richard Parrish, Director of the Centre for Sports Law Research, Edge Hill University (United Kingdom)
Thierry Zintz, Professor in Sport Organisation Management, Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium)

“National practices in Sports Diplomacy”

Vanja Smokvina, Assistant Professor, University of Rijeka, Faculty of Law, Croatia

“It is all about the strategy: Australia and Sports Diplomacy 2030”

Stuart Murray, Associate Professor, Bond University and Fellow, Academy of Sport, Edinburgh University

“The Council of Europe: a vital partner in sports diplomacy”

Snežana Samardžić-Marković, Director General for Democracy, Council of Europe

“Embracing Human Rights in EU Sport Diplomacy”

Antoine Duval, Senior Researcher at the Asser Institute, The Hague (Netherlands)

“Non-state actors as game changers in sport diplomacy”

Silvija Mitevska, President of the NGO Together Advancing Common Trust (TAKT), Skopje (North Macedonia)

“Sports diplomacy and soft power”

Albrecht Sonntag, Professor at the EU-Asia Institute of ESSCA School of Management, Angers (France)

“EU sports diplomacy: the role of organisational culture”
Carmen Pérez González, Professor of International Law, University Carlos III of Madrid (Spain)

“Sports diplomacy and covid-19 recovery in small nations: The case of Wales”
Rosa Bickerton, Education and public affairs, British Council in Wales
Gavin Price, Consultant on cultural relations and global diplomacy

“Switzerland and the IOC: a complicated bilateral relationship”
Quentin Tonnerre, PhD student in the history of diplomacy, University of Lausanne

“French-speaking diplomacy in the service of sport”
Sylvie Le Maux, Expert in public policy and diplomacy of sport, Strategic Council for Sports Events and Public Relations

“Sport for sustainable development”
Christophe Dias, Project Officer, Sport & Development French Development Agency
Typhaine Christiaen, Project Officer, Sport & Development French Development Agency

“Sport is primarily a national social and economic project, before being a tool for diplomacy”
Romuald Nguyen, Director of the French football bureau in China

“When UEFA overcame the Cold War divide”

Philippe Vonnard, Senior research fellow, University of Lausanne (Switzerland)

“The sporting heritage, an issue for citizens at the European level”
Yvan Gastaut, Lecturer, University Côte d’Azur

“Post-lockdown sports diplomacy: what critical mass?”
Jacob Kornbeck, Member of the Sport and Citizenship Think Tank’s Scientific Committee

“Social acceptability: the main challenge for major international sports events”
Hugo Bourbillères, Lecturer, VIPS2 Laboratory, University of Rennes 2

“The involvement of ‘grassroots’ in sport diplomacy”
Jacob Schouenborg, Secretary General of International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA)


Sections: Fight against violence / Health / Education / Economy

Sport and Citizenship in action


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