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

In Week 5 we build upon some of the social projects introduced in Week 4, by examining further how football helps with international development in a variety of ways. You will also hear from a former Member of Parliament (UK) who looked after the international development portfolio and recognised 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. In this week, we also examine one project that attempts to challenge health behaviour through the use of physical activity.

We’ll also look at the role of football in peace building and social cohesion. As a form of soft power, football is often argued as a means to broker moments of normality during certain situations or periods of conflict between ethnic or national communities. In this regard, as a form of public diplomacy or social intervention, football has often been overlooked, but its strengths here should not be underestimated.

For example, 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?

What can football positively contribute to current immigration tensions? Is there a role for football in tackling this global phenomenon?

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.

  • The United Nations have an office for sport, peace and development.

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

Let’s now move on to a discussion asking: does football help with international development?

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This article is from the free online course:

Football: More than a Game

The University of Edinburgh