Discovering Sport and Diplomacy on the Beach

By bd18|September 13, 2016|Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy|0 comments

By Dr J Simon Rofe

Copacabana Beach and Sugar Loaf Mountain provided a stunning backdrop to the Beach Volleyball at the Rio 2016 Olympics.  It is a sport, which perhaps more than any other, has the greatest cultural resonance with Rio de Janeiro, and so it was entirely appropriate that Bruno Schmidt and Alison Cerutti should win gold for Brazil in the men’s event; whilst Ágatha Bednarczuk and Bárbara Seixas won the silver medal in the women’s tournament.

The XXXI Olympiad has brought together in one city elite athletes, political leaders, sponsors and business from every realm.  This heady mix of characters – what scholars of International Relations call ‘actors’ – running on the adrenaline of competition, provides an opportunity for diplomacy like no other.  Universities and academics should recognise this opportunity since sport brings people together in a way unlike any other facet of contemporary society.  Sport provides a unique opportunity for diplomacy: that is ‘communication’, ‘representation’ and ‘negotiation’.  Statesmen recognise this, businesses recognise this and audiences recognise this.

The Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD) at SOAS University of London delivers a module entitled ‘Sport and Diplomacy: More than a Game’ as part of their online and campus learning provision.  The module is run by Dr J. Simon Rofe, a leading figure in recognising and establishing Sport and Diplomacy as a subject for academic study.

Following the CISD’s second Sport and Diplomacy colloquium in July 2015, recent work with overseas National Olympic Committee’s and a number of media appearances, Sport and Diplomacy is pushing barriers in academic and policy terms, every bit as much as the world’s athletes have done in Rio.

Rofe, J. Simon (2016) ‘Prologue: Diplomacy and Sport.’ Diplomacy and Statecraft, 27 (2). pp. 207-211.

Rofe, J. Simon (2016) ‘Sport and Diplomacy: A Global Diplomacy Framework.’ Diplomacy and Statecraft, 27 (2). pp. 212-230.

Rofe, J. Simon (2016) ‘”Strenuous Competition on the field of play, Diplomacy off it” – The 1908 London Olympics, Theodore Roosevelt, Arthur Balfour, and Transatlantic Relations.’ Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, 15 (1). pp. 60-79.

Rofe, J. Simon (2014) ‘It is a squad game: Manchester United as a diplomatic non-state actor in international affairs.’ Sport in Society, 17 (9). pp. 1136-1154.

Rofe, J. Simon and Pigman, Geoffrey Allen (2014) ‘Sport and Diplomacy: an introduction.’ Sport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics, 17 (9). pp. 1095-1097.

Further details please be in touch with Dr J Simon Rofe

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