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Debating the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace

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Debating the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace


The International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP) is an annual celebration of the power of sport to drive social change, community development and to foster peace and understanding. Creating a historical link to the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, 6 April was declared the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 2013, and has been celebrated each year ever since 2014.

Modern sport is contested. On the one hand, in ethno-national struggles sport has played the role of a catalyst in intensifying the conflicts (e.g. Central America’s ‘soccer war’, or in the Balkans or Northern Ireland), while couched in expressions of chauvinism, militarism and violent nationalism. On the other hand, sport-governing bodies such as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have insisted that sporting events and movements facilitate the promotion of peace, solidarity and fraternity among the participant nations and viewers (Chatziefstathiou and Henry, 2012; Guttmann, 2002).

This contestation is manifest in sports programmes offered by nation-states, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), inter-governmental organizations, international sport federations, transnational corporations (especially through ‘corporate social responsibility’ programmes), and grassroots community-based organisations. The outcome has been the rise of a new sector: ‘Sport, Development and Peace (SDP)’ largely driven by Global North agencies in Global South who deploy sport as a tool to reduce social tensions; counteract racism, intolerance and prejudice; tackle crime and social exclusion; promote health education and gender equality (Giulianotti, 2011: 208). 

We invite you to debate and reflect on how/ whether citizens of the world can learn, innovate and promote the ways that sport can help countries, communities and individuals to live, peaceful, prosperous lives.

Speakers of the event will represent voices from different sectors (Academia, state and local governing bodies, non-governing bodies, sports clubs and others).



Map Frederic Mason Room at St. Martin’s Priory, North Holmes Road, Canterbury, United Kingdom
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