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Short overview: Football for international development, Drogba diplomacy and peace

In Week 4 we introduced you to the work of the Homeless World Cup and in previous weeks you have explored football interventions such as the Mathare United Football Club in Kenya.

In Week 5 we build upon some of these social projects by examining further how football helps with international development in a variety of ways. You will hear from a former Member of Parliament who looked after the international development portfolio and recognized the power of football to help with conflict resolution, peace-building, diplomacy and winning friends for countries.

A large part of the international aid effort is about helping to change patterns of health in different communities and we examine one project that attempts to challenge health behaviour.

Former US President Bill Clinton once said that football has done more to help poverty in different parts of the world than almost anything else – but what do you think?

As a form of soft power football is often able to broker moments of normality during certain situations or periods of conflict between ethnic or national communities.

What can football positively contribute to current immigration tensions?

As a form of public diplomacy or social intervention, football has often been overlooked, but its strengths here should not be underestimated.

Football Facts:

  • Drogba diplomacy was named after the Ivory Coast footballer Didier Drogba who tried to intervene to stop civil war in his country.

  • El Salvador and Honduras once went to war after a football match.

  • UEFA instigated a football programme aimed at helping to integrate Romani people into Eastern Europe.

  • Australia currently leads the world in having a sports diplomacy strategy.

  • Football can be a form of soft power that helps countries exert influence and persuasion.

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This article is from the free online course:

Football: More than a Game

The University of Edinburgh