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Use sport as diplomatic tool, expert urges

Sport should be considered as important as art and music in fostering international relations, the University’s Chair of Sport will argue in a keynote speech in Brussels.

Professor Grant Jarvie, a member of the University’s Centre for Cultural Relations, will urge European leaders and diplomats to recognise that sport can be used to enhance a country’s influence.

Professor Jarvie will address the conference, Sport in Foreign Policy : Culture of Fairness, on Wednesday 10 December. It has been organised by the State of Baden-Wurttemberg and the ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen).

Harnessing the power of sport

The gathering of European foreign diplomats, civil servants, and politicians will look at sport as a form of ‘soft power’, how global sport is linked to foreign policy and development goals, the ethical versus realpolitik approach of nation states, and how sport can enhance intercultural communication.

In his speech, Professor Jarvie will examine how sport can not only help create bonds between and within countries, but even aid in preventing conflict.

He will urge all those at the forum to work together to exploit the reach and influence of sport.

The role of the arts has long since been recognised, and celebrated in European culture as a valuable social tool. I would argue that sport should be awarded the same status with European cultural relations. It should not be considered to be of inferior significance to art or music and should be a necessary part of the modern toolbox of any diplomat, ambassador or any individual charged with fostering international cultural relations.

Professor Grant JarvieThe University of Edinburgh's Chair of Sport

Related Links

Conference programme

Study Sport, Society and Policy

The Centre for Cultural Relations