Grassroots Sport Diplomacy concept takes shape


ISCA’s Grassroots Sport Diplomacy project partners gathered in Genova, Italy, to plan the development of a brand new online course on this budding concept, which will be launched at the MOVE Congress 2019. Kiera Wason-Milne, from project partner Sport and Citizenship, shares with us the process of carving this new niche and discovering concrete examples that are highly relevant to our sector.

As our 24-month Erasmus+ supported project is well into its second year, the progress covered by Grassroots Sport Diplomacy (GSD) has been both swift and fruitful. The nine project partners were welcomed by UISP in Genova, Italy, and steered by the project leader ISCA, for three days of productive teamwork.

While the first steps of GSD were challenging ones, notably due to the intricacy that comes with defining a new concept, it is now clear that the following steps of project have played decisive roles to question, refine and ultimately consolidate the definition.

Indeed, carrying out a systematic consultation of key international stakeholders not only enabled the consortium to receive and reflect over precious constructive criticism, but further boosted the belief that the GSD concept is relevant and worthy. Similarly, the selected pilot projects provide concrete examples of the many shapes GSD can take across the world, thus helping newcomers to anchor the idea into their understanding before setting out to implement their own initiative.

Partners enjoyed catching a glimpse of what their work has produced and achieved although it is not quite over. The consortium is already busy with shaping all produced material into appealing content for the project’s last step: creating an online learning course to introduce and guide civil society stakeholders to conceptualise and put into action their own Grassroots Sport Diplomacy initiatives.

The course will be launched upon the project’s final conference that will be held in Budapest, Hungary from 16-18 October 2019, within ISCA’s biennial MOVE Congress. Registration and tickets are already available!

By Kiera Wason-Milne, Sport and Citizenship

(This article was originally written for the 46th Sport and Citizenship Journal, to be published mid-June 2019).

The Erasmus+ Sport supported Grassroots Sport Diplomacy collaborative partnership is led by ISCA and the partners include three French expert institutions, European Observatory of Sport and Employment (EOSE) (the President of EOSE, Prof. Thierry Zintz, is a member of the EU High Level Group on Sports Diplomacy), Think Tank Sport and Citizenship and the French Institute for International and Strategic Studies (IRIS), three sport oriented bodies, National Olympic Committee and Sport Confederation of Denmark, UBAE from Spain and UISP from Italy, two governmental institutions, the National School, University and Leisure Sport Federation in Hungary and the Portuguese Institute for Sport and Youth, and one non-European partner, Social Service of Commerce (SESC) from Brazil.