Sport diplomacy is a relatively new term. A new term, but one that describes an old practice: using sport to achieve political goals to bring about positive social change.
The United Nations is also trying to achieve something through sport. The former manager of the Bundesliga soccer club Werder Bremen, Willi Lemke, travels the world as a UN Special Advisor for Sport and praises the unifying effect everywhere. And there are organizations of their own that want to support peace through sport, like Peace and Sport, based in Monaco. Traditionally, sports diplomacy is a national matter. It is therefore not surprising that countries different countries among them ` Australia is also developing its sports diplomacy.
Australia has an international reputation, not only for the love of sport, but for the excellence of the elite-level sporting community. Sport has been a powerful force in uniting Australian nation, made up of people from a diverse range of countries and cultures. Australia is a sporting nation that trades its sporting image.
First, in 2015, the Australian government developed a sport diplomacy plan that was thought to be the world’s first and focused on the Indo-Pacific area. According to the Australian government, the 2015-18 strategy “achieved significant wins,” including the delivery of two sports for development programs in the Pacific and Asia, the use of over 50 partnerships to enable 1.5 million people to participate in sporting activities, the reduction of inequalities experienced by women, girls, and people with disabilities, and the awarding of ten sports fellowships.
Sports Diplomacy 2030, which builds on the success of the previous plan, was unveiled on February 1, 2019. The new approach maintains a global perspective, with a particular emphasis on our Pacific neighbors and the goal of developing a flourishing regional sports community. Sports Diplomacy 2030 envisages closer collaboration between the Australian sports codes, industry, and government to leverage the nation’s sporting excellence in ways that enhance Australia’s influence and reputation and advance our national interests.
The Centre for Sport and Social Impact at La Trobe University and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have teamed to establish the world’s first Sports Diplomacy MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). The educational program will teach participants about Australian sporting ideals and the soft power potential of sports.
The Sports Diplomacy MOOC is available for free and is intended for team leaders, coaches, managers, administrators, high-performance managers, sports scientists, sports psychologists, and those working in sports development initiatives.
To summarize, Australia has a remarkable record of success in international sport for a country with a tiny population, a distant location, and an unpleasant colonial heritage. If diplomacy is the business of representation, sport should figure substantially in Australia’s diplomacy.
Zeit online (no date) ZEIT ONLINE | Lesen Sie zeit.de mit Werbung oder im PUR-Abo. Sie haben die Wahl. Available at: https://www.zeit.de/sport/2011-12/frieden-sport-bopanna-ulhaq/seite-2?utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F (Accessed: October 29, 2022).
Murray, S. (2017), Sports Diplomacy in the Australian Context: Theory into Practice, Politics & Policy, 10/2017 Vol. 45(4), 850-851
Australian Government (2019), Sports Diplomacy 2030 Strategy, accessed at: https://www.dfat.gov.au/sites/default/files/sportsdiplomacy-2030.pdf
Sports diplomacy (no date) Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Available at: https://www.dfat.gov.au/people-to-people/sports-diplomacy (Accessed: November 1, 2022).