Athletes United for Peace: Reconciliation through Sport

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Unit:
Department of Physical Education & Sport Science
Title:
Athletes United for Peace: Reconciliation through Sport
Languages of Item:
English
Abstract:
Athlete activism, the promotion of new role models and mentors and intercultural cooperation, namely bridging social inequality gaps through sport, is vital in view of the systematic misuse of Olympic values today, such as the increase of racial violence linked to sport events, obsessive competitiveness, commercialisation, the de-athletisation of male and female athletes in the mass media, the gender leadership gap in sport governing bodies, but especially in light of the alarming impact of globalisation on racism and xenophobia. From examination of collaborative-intergenerational activities, conflict resolution curricula and peace projects of non-profit organisations, training institutions and NGOs striving to eliminate racism, campaigning to rid sport of anti-Semitism, as well as promote gender equity, this presentation argues that Peace Education be incorporated into educational policies and teaching practices. What is initially required however is an all-encompassing hub of information, to pull together the multifaceted contributions, the diverse peace education curricula and activities, and in particular those that offer both leadership programmes as well as a foundation for new ones. Providing a common hub of information for networking with diverse stakeholders, progressive thinking peers, experts in the field and especially the media will facilitate dialogue with those who are at the forefront of implementing change. Such an effort partnered by universities, education ministries and policymakers could ensure that peace education is mainstreamed throughout the system.
Bridges to Understanding: Moving Forward through Sport: Policy makers consider that sport contributes to a wide range of ideals such as intercultural understanding, reconciliation and social integration (Peace First 2011, 2009, Munro 2009, Peace Games 2006, Brion-Meisels & Corcoran 2006, European Commission 2009, Cordis 2007). Grassroots programmes involving tens of thousands of participants around the globe from visionaries, educators, civic activists, volunteers, etc. are using sport to tackle the most pressing problems of the developing world – from AIDS in Africa to violence in Rio and Haiti. Is this vision of salvation through sports too grandiose? Can such projects make a lasting difference? Remarkable results have been documented by many NGOs that have been using sport as a tool to promote reconciliation and respect for ethnic diversity. Sport is considered a vital social space, especially in light of today’s xenophobic worldviews. For example, the recent Norway tragedy, the terrorist attacks on July 22, 2011, where 86 people were killed by the Norwegian right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik in the context of his mission for the violent annihilation of multiculturalism. Specifically, the bombing of government buildings in Oslo that resulted in 8 deaths, and the mass shooting at a camp of the Workers’ Youth League (AUF) of the Labour Party on the island of Utoya where Breivik killed 69 people, mostly teenagers. In order to revive Olympism (Olympic values), teach youth pro-social attitudes and values through sport – instead of obsessive competitiveness that leads to violence and racial conflicts – the Olympic movement needs allies and networks to promote, among other things, initiatives, such as those of “Football against Racism” and the “Let’s Kick Racism out of Football” (LKROOF) campaigns. The upsurge of racial or xenophobic violence indicates that joint action has to be initiated so as to pull together the multifaceted and diverse peace education curricula and activities, and in particular those that offer both leadership programmes as well as a foundation for new ones. Such an effort partnered with universities, education ministries and policymakers could ensure that peace education is mainstreamed throughout the system.
Publication year:
2012
Authors:
Irene Kamberidou
Publisher:
International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education (ICSSPE/CIEPSS), Hanns-Braun-Strase Friesenhaus II D-14053 Berlin
Conference title:
SPORT AS A MEDIATOR BETWEEN CULTURES
Pages:
187-202
Keywords:
Sport, social integration, peace education, leadership, reconciliation, intercultural understanding, peace games, respect for ethnic diveristy, gender, women, racism, xenophobia, Norway tragedy,
Main subject category:
Social, Political and Economic sciences
Project information:
Kamberidou, I. (2012). Athletes United for Peace: Reconciliation through Sport. Proceedings of the international conference SPORT AS A MEDIATOR BETWEEN CULTURES, pp. 187–202. International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education (ICSSPE/CIEPSS), Hanns-Braun-Strase Friesenhaus II D-14053 Berlin. Editors Ronnie Lidor, Karl-Heinz Schneider & Katrin Koenen. ISBN 978-3-9811179-4-3 , copyright 2012 by ICSSPE.
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