Exploring sport diplomacy at the grassroots level

 
Exploring sport diplomacy at the grassroots level

A cross-sector group of partners from two continents, including EOSE, is set to explore an often overlooked aspect of sport in a brand new project called Grassroots Sport Diplomacy, led by the International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA). The kick-off meeting for the EU-supported project took place in Copenhagen, Denmark, from 7-9 February and the project will run until the end of 2019.

During the project, the partners will map grassroots sport diplomacy actions from around the world in theory and in practice, and this will include consultations with organisations who are engaging in these actions. The mapping will lead into seven pilot actions, where selected grassroots sport organisations will have the opportunity to test different approaches to diplomacy across sectors and across borders. At the end of the project the partners will propose recommendations for future work in this field and launch an online hub of new knowledge, best practices and networking opportunities for civil society organisations.

EOSE is thrilled to be part of this innovative and promising project and will in particular be involved as a key Contributor to Intellectual Ouptut 1 (A mapping of current resources, strategies and initiatives for grassroots sports) as in charge of leading the collaborative development of definitions, theories and typologies AND as a Leader of Intellectual Output 4 (Recommendations for EU, governments and civil society to use grassroots sport diplomacy).

The project partners, in addition to ISCA and EOSE, include French institutions, Think Tank Sport and Citizenship and the French Institute for International and Strategic Studies (IRIS), three sport oriented bodies, National Olympic Committee and Sport Confederation of Denmark, UBAE from Spain and UISP from Italy, two governmental institutions, the National School, University and Leisure Sport Federation in Hungary and the Portuguese Institute for Sport and Youth, and one non-European partner, Social Service of Commerce (SESC) from Brazil.

ISCA Secretary General Jacob Schouenborg says he is looking forward to seeing the concept of Grassroots Sport Diplomacy come alive as a collaborative project that will look deeper into the idea and test how it works in practice.

“Diplomacy is an opportunity for grassroots sport. It is value-based communication and exchange across borders. It has been taking place as citizen-to-citizen engagement for centuries but largely outside of the governmental and political radars. Now is a good time to highlight, enhance and exploit this potential. That will make for better diplomatic actions and benefit the grassroots sport sector itself.”

Carole Ponchon, PR and Project Manager, represented EOSE during the kick-off and shared the idea that sport diplomacy in this context is a tool to bring people together and to make them aware about the capacity of sport to help them bridging gaps between communities, nations, ethnic groups …  As such sport diplomacy for the grassroots sector also means new development perspectives and -in a fast revolving world- a way for these organisations to renew their civic engagement and contribution. Any grassroots sport diplomacy programme should aim at empowering the target group while increasing dialogue and cultural understanding AND building upon mentoring approach and exchange of good practices.”

EU flag-Erasmus+_vect_POS

The Grassroots Sport Diplomacy project is co-funded by the European Commission under the Erasmus+ Collaborative Partnerships in Sport programme. A new webpage for the project will be launched soon.

More about the project

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EOSE – European Observatoire of Sport and Employment

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