Grassroots Sport Diplomacy project travels to the Middle East as ISCA leads workshop in Saudi Arabia


In recognition of ISCA and our project partners’ progress in pioneering the concept of Grassroots Sport Diplomacy, ISCA Head of Projects Saska Benedicic Tomat and Vice President Toni Llop were given the unique opportunity to deliver a workshop on Grassroots Sport Diplomacy in Saudi Arabia last week. The event launched the Grassroots Sport Diplomacy concept on its third continent this year, after having been piloted in Europe and Latin America through ISCA’s EU-supported project.

The European Commission’s EU Policy and Outreach Partnership (EUPOP Global) invited ISCA to share its expertise in this emerging field with 55 leaders of 30 sport organisations or federations in Riyadh, including the Saudi Sport For All Federation, Saudi Mass Participation Federation, and the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee.

The workshop was organised by the European Commission and Saudi General Sport Authority and Leadership Institute in connection with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030. Among other developmental goals, Vision 2030 aims to promote volunteering and “raise the non-profit sector’s contribution to GDP from less than 1% to 5%”.

This was the first opportunity for the workshop’s many participants representing non-profit organisations to brainstorm and outline a grassroots diplomatic action they would like to pilot in their country or community in 2020, following the step-by-step guide now available in the new Grassroots Sport Diplomacy course at

It was also the perfect opportunity to – literally – roll out ISCA’s new Grassroots Sport Diplomacy cubes like dice across the workshop’s round tables. The six sides of the cubes represent each of the six steps outlined in the course and are a colourful introduction to “How to Become a Grassroots Sport Diplomat”. (Please contact us at if you would like know more or get your hands on this interactive learning and awareness-raising tool.)

ISCA Vice President Toni Llop, whose organisation UBAE is a partner and pilot action coordinator in the Grassroots Sport Diplomacy project, said the workshop was a fitting recognition of the project’s achievements and potential to grow as a field of work.

“It has been a pleasure and an amazing experience to represent ISCA in a workshop based on Grassroots Sport Diplomacy in Saudi Arabia,” he said.

“Thanks to the work developed by a group of people during two years’ work in the Grassroots Sport Diplomacy project development and implementation, Saska and I were able to lead the workshop where delegates from different sport organisations took an active part (following ISCA’s active meeting techniques, of course).”

ISCA is now exploring ways to continue collaborating with Saudi Arabian non-profit sport organisations through the NowWeMOVE campaign and resources developed through ISCA projects such as MOVEment Spaces and Good Governance in Grassroots Sport.

Find out more about the Grassroots Sport Diplomacy project and try out our free online course here.