2008 young diplomats essay contest

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View all notes manner, the same qualities are evident in successful sports diplomats, such as the part-time Chinese envoys Yao Ming basketball and Liu Xiang hurdling. Superstar footballers like Lionel Messi or Didier Drogba have more in common with superstar diplomats like Chris Patten or Gareth Evans than first impressions suggest. Considering these four beneficial collusions between sport and diplomacy, the potential for sports diplomacy is promising. Jim Cain , said as much: Sports can be a powerful medium to reach out and build relationships … across cultural and ethnic divides, with a positive message of shared values: values such as mutual respect, tolerance, compassion, discipline, equality of opportunity and the rule of law.

In many ways, sports can be a more effective foreign policy resource than the carrot or the stick. Moving beyond the idealistic rhetoric, sports diplomacy can seem an odd hybrid, particularly from the perspective of a global sporting public. While the two cultures share certain similarities, the differences may be more significant and allude to the reason why, to date, sports diplomacy has been limited, anecdotal and sporadic.

There are other significant differences in the two cultures. In diplomacy, while there are winners and losers, winning is not everything.


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Conversely, a popular view of sport holds that winning is everything. Sports fans do not watch the accoutrements of sport — their heroes training, or the arrival of the dignitaries at the stadium: they watch heated battles imbued with national fervour. For the majority of the direct participants in international sports — the fans, the players, and the managerial and administrative staff — the essence of sport is not only built representing one's country to the best of one's abilities, but it is also built on fierce zero-sum competition: winning, in other words.

Moreover, in the present, as in the past, sport is associated with suffering and war — the antithesis of diplomacy Sweet Sweet, Waldo E. Sport and Recreation in Ancient Greece. Oxford : Oxford University Press.

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During the ancient Olympics, the word for competition was agon , where the English word agony is derived from; similarly, the etymology of the words athlete and athletics comes from the Greek word athlos , a contest taking place in a stadium or on a battlefield. Vide Sweet Sweet, Waldo E. View all notes Sport is universally saturated with references to war, battle and tribalism. For the advocates of sports diplomacy, there appears to be a naive gap between sporting reality and sporting idealism.

Besides the aspirational values sport can demonstrate, there is a darker, Hobbesian aspect to sport. In international sports, sports fans become emotionally involved with their national team — and the anthems, mass shows of patriotism and symbolism certainly heighten the sense of nationalism. For example, during the Asian Football Cup, hosted by China, Japan's national side faced hostility everywhere they played. In this respect, sport contradicts diplomacy, whose core function is the minimization of friction in international affairs.


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Therefore, the idea of using sport as a means of bringing estranged nations closer together can seem far-fetched. Heralding sports diplomacy as a soft and fluffy panacea to the growing pains of globalization is problematic simply because it is not true. International competition can exaggerate animosity, becoming a prelude to hostility and, in the worst case, violence.

Whether it is riots, war or terrorism, sport has a long association with violence. Recalcitrant state and non-state actors can — similarly — use sport to publicize their grievances, to spread fear or to distribute a message to a vast global audience. For example, a week after the Munich Games tragedy, where 11 Israeli athletes were kidnapped and murdered by Black September, a radical Palestinian organization, the group issued the following communique: A bomb in the White House, a mine in the Vatican, the death of Mao-Tse-tung, an earthquake in Paris could not have echoed through the consciousness of every man in the world like the operation at Munich … the choice of the Olympics, from a purely propagandistic viewpoint was percent successful.

It was like painting the name of Palestine on a mountain that can be seen from the four corners of the earth Toohey Toohey, Kristine. Terrorism is a form of public relations. The aim is to spread as the greatest fear with the least effort. To do that, terrorist seek out the most public places and events.

That means sport. In terms of diplomats or government officials impinging on sport, they can be regarded with suspicion by the discerning sports fan. The reason is that for some sport is sacrosanct. No spiritual or intellectual message is conveyed, no hope for humanity, no promise for the human condition comes from this ceremony, where only the law of the strongest are celebrated' Redeker Redeker, Robert.

2008 young diplomats essay contest

View all notes. For the critics of sports diplomacy, a head of state's interest in sport is nothing more than a sham, a gimmick or a photo-op, a politician pretending to have a common interest with their subjects to secure a few votes. Positive experiences, such as Nelson Mandela's appearance at the final of the Rugby World Cup final, are the exception rather than the rule.

Just ask any Australian cricket fan how they felt about former Prime Minister John Howard's woeful bowling performance while visiting Pakistan in Failing to land a ball remotely near the wicket, the PM embarrassed Australia and its proud sporting pedigree immeasurably Farr Farr, Malcolm.

Accessed January 5, Sports diplomacy, in this respect, generates the sort of criticism that summit diplomacy attracts. On the Way to Diplomacy. Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press. There are other issues: any diplomatic meeting generated by a sporting event is bound to be too short, or that possibilities for negotiation are limited because the heads of state outline their objectives before the meeting has taken place and to renege will be viewed as a weakness by their electorate , or who foots the exorbitant cost of securing the venue?

View all notes for statesmen Berridge Berridge, G. Diplomacy: Theory and Practice. London : Palgrave.


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Backslapping and high-fiving heads of state pretending to like sport for political opportunities are not a good image for sports diplomacy. Respecting the boundaries between sport and diplomacy is crucial to weaving a durable relationship.

H-Diplo Essay 122- "Sport history and diplomatic history" (An H-Diplo State of the Field Essay)

If traditional diplomatic actors wish to unleash the potential of sports diplomacy, an awareness of the above-mentioned issues is important. In the modern diplomatic environment, perhaps the time has come to utilize positively the soft power benefits of sport and diplomacy. Sport can transcend borders, security rivalries and break the ice over nuclear stand-offs. Through sport, an opportunity can present itself to translate dangerous relations into acceptable, friendly and competitive rivalry.

With further research and showing due respect for both the sacrosanct and uglier side of sport, sports diplomacy does have significant potential to be an effective tool in the toolbox of twenty-first-century diplomats. The nature of the second broad type of sports diplomacy, international-sport-as-diplomacy, is less transparent and more elusive than the first. What we think of today as international sport, competition that takes place between competitors representing different political jurisdictions or entities, has existed since ancient times.

It has evolved in large part out of the quest for excellence that inheres in every game or sporting pursuit. To be the best, or even to play at the highest standard, and to be seen by others who know the sport as performing at that level, of necessity involves competing against the best in the world. By the nineteenth century, sport as a leisure activity had spread to the emerging middle-class population, first in Europe and thenceforth over the rest of the globe.

Cambridge : Polity Press. Hence, the forms and processes of international sporting competition are internal to the norms and excellences of each sport as recognized by participants and followers of the sport. In contrast to sporting competition undertaken specifically as an instrument of diplomacy, the vast majority of international sport is not undertaken for any diplomatic purpose at all.

Chehabi Chehabi, H. Yet although most international sporting competition is not an intentional form of diplomatic instrument used by governments, international sport nonetheless serves as a form of diplomacy in its own right. Like more traditional diplomacy between governments, international sporting competition mediates estrangement between states, peoples and other actors.

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Like sending and receiving embassies, negotiating agreements and resolving conflicts, the activity of international sport is fundamentally that of representation and communication. Like other forms of diplomacy, international sport takes place in identifiable stages and venues. As such, the impact of international sport-for-its-own-sake upon the ongoing diplomatic relationships between governments, peoples and other actors can be broken down into two major categories, each of which warrants study as a significant component of contemporary diplomacy in its broadest sense.

First, international sport as it is practiced has direct effects upon diplomatic relations between governments, nations and peoples continually and in a range of ways. Second, the practice of international sport necessitates a whole category of multi-actor, specialized diplomacy that is required to make international sporting competition possible. Sporting competition between competitors or teams representing nations has a wide range of effects upon diplomacy.

The most famous and enduring diplomatic effect of international sport is to suspend, defer or sublimate conflict between polities. The primary purpose of the Olympic Truce, both ancient and modern, has been to suspend warfare or violence over the period of Olympic competition to enable competitors and spectators to leave their military positions when required and travel to the site of competition International Olympic Truce Centre International Olympic Truce Centre.

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The Olympic Truce has always been aspirational, in that compliance through history has been far from complete. Yet like other international norms and canons of international law, it is probably better judged by what it is likely to have accomplished in terms of averting conflict that otherwise would have taken place rather than by what it has failed to achieve.

Widespread global public interest, support and viewership are crucial to the success of international-sport-as-diplomacy. Large international sporting events have a huge public diplomacy impact upon the global public viewing the event either in person or through the media.