Sports diplomacy continues to grow in importance as a diplomatic practice with the sports industry globally seeking new ways to connect and cultivate relationships that help shape their path into the future.
In Australia, sport plays a pivotal role in shaping and showcasing our nation’s identity, values and culture. Locally, the Gold Coast must actively engage in sport diplomacy on both a national and international level to establish us as the go-to city for elite athletes, and as the destination of choice for international sportspeople or teams looking to embed themselves in a comprehensive sporting environment.
Australian sport and the psyche of our sportspeople, is viewed as an important diplomatic asset. As a city with outstanding facilities, a rich sporting history and pristine environment, the Gold Coast must leverage the plethora of opportunities awaiting us and cultivate relationships through sport diplomacy.
In March this year, the inaugural Australia-UK Sports Diplomacy Forum event was held at the Gabba to analyse sport’s role in diplomatic initiatives.
With an impressive line-up of quality speakers from both the UK and Australia, the forum addressed the huge potential of sports diplomacy in the current tumultuous world stage and the future opportunities the strong relationship between the UK and Australia can initiate.
A collaboration between The British Council, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the UK Government’s GREAT campaign and the Griffith Asia Institute, the forum was well attended by representatives from government, universities and private enterprise, including George Brandis, Australian High Commissioner to the UK.
The forum included discussions on women in sport diplomacy, sports diplomacy strategy and sports tech diplomacy.
Australia’s three-time Paralympic paracanoe champion Curtis McGrath was a speaker at the event, as was
Loughborough University London and former Gold Coast academic, Professor James Skinner.
Professor Skinner focused on the strategic use of sports innovation and technology in diplomacy and discussed how the UK and Australia can better leverage their strengths in this sector.
The Gold Coast region can benefit substantially from the implementation of sports diplomacy programs. Griffith University is already setting a precedent following the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games with its world-renowned GAP program which assisted Vanuatu and the Cook Islands winning their first ever medals at the Games.
Sports Gold Coast looks forward to working with the Sports Diplomacy Alliance to ensure national sports diplomacy programs implemented in our region.