Peace through Sport Engineers on the rise
Only one month after 193 world leaders gathered in New York to commit to the SDG’s 17 Global Goals guiding the agenda of the United Nations for the next 15 years the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, adopted the “Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal” resolution. With the support of 180 members the resolution urges member states to observe the Olympic Truce from the seventh day before the start of the XXXI Olympic Summer Games next August, until the seventh day following the end of the XV Paralympic Summer Games next September to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The support of the Olympic Truce has grown steadily within the General Assembly since 1993.
Beyond the truce however, the resolution includes a call for member states, the United Nations system and the International Olympic and Paralympic Committees to maximize the potential of sport in contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, and encourages the Olympic and Paralympic movements to work closely with national and international sports organizations on the use of sport to that end. This growing international recognition combined with the call for sport to support SDGs requires concrete actions which ultimately translate to a need for trained individuals with the relevant competencies to carry out these actions.
It has been my belief that the development and growth of peace through sport goes hand in hand with a growth in globally trained professional and experts or as I like to call them “peace through sport engineers” which can lead these actions in practice and take the field of peace through sport to another level of professionalism.
It is with this idea in mind, that Peace and Sport developed together with the International University of Monaco (IUM) and United Nations-mandated University for Peace (U-Peace) in Costa Rica joined forces back in 2010 to create the Master’s degree in Sustainable Peace through Sport (MSPS).
Today, it is the turn of the University of Tsukuba, the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Kanoya in collaboration with the Japan Sport Council, to launch a Joint Master’s program in English on International Development and Peace through Sport.
I am pleased to see the growing response of the academic world to the field and wish to use this opportunity to shed light on a number of successful masters programs or research groups in the field. It is important to note the many programs that have grown in the past decade in order to decrypt the reality that is peace through sport in the world and display through the example of the academic world the maturity and expertise of the movement.
Universities have included peace through sport in different ways; some such as the ones cited above are specifically dedicated to the field, another example being the program offered by the University of Brighton whilst others have chosen to include a module on peace through sport as is being done at the University of Georgetown with its MA Program in Conflict Resolution. Similarly, SOAS University in London includes a module on sport diplomacy and Southampton Solent University has one on Conflict resolution and peace building.
Alternatively, some universities contribute to the field within specific centres, such as the Sport and Development Project at Brown University or the Center for Sport, Peace, and Society at the University of Tennessee, the University of Western Cape in South Africa, and Loughborough University’s sport for a better world program.
Last but not least, the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) developed an online master’s degree program in sport for social coexistence and conflict resolution making access to peace through sport education a global possibility. The list is not extensive but illustrates just how globally peace through sport is being considered in the academic sphere and to highlight the importance of this reality in ensuring concrete actions do take place.
We must continue to keep track of these academic developments and I look forward to observing the impact of these programs to the peace through sport movement.
It seems the academic world is following this growing need for peace through sport engineers, and is ready to invest further to grow and professionalize the field. With a masters in Japan in the wake of the Tokyo Games, online courses, a call for governments and international organizations to combine forces and use sport for the SDGs, it seems clear that being a peace through sport engineer is a profession to consider for the near future.