Sport and Diplomacy: Past Reflections and Looking Toward 2020

Key information

5:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Brunei Gallery
Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre (BGLT)
Event type
Event highlights

About this event

Speakers: Tetsuya Kimura (Director-General, Japan Sports Agency), Richard Caborn (former Minister of Sport 2001-7), Dr Helen Macnaughtan (Chair, SOAS Japan Research Centre), Dr J Simon Rofe (SOAS University of London)

Japan is due to host two sporting ‘mega-events’ in the next few years: The Rugby World Cup 2019 and The Summer Olympics, Tokyo 2020.

The build up to these events provides an opportunity to reflect on the past, present and future role of sport as an opportunity for diplomacy. This symposium focuses on mega-sporting events as a public diplomatic platform, and how it creates legacies for global community.

Sport Diplomacy is a relatively new and flourishing field in academia building upon the heritage of studies in sport and history, politics and sociology. With the 2019 and 2020 events on the horizon, this event will examine the role of sports throughout the history in Japan since the hosting of the Olympics in 1964 in Tokyo.

We are pleased to welcome Director General of Japan Sports Agency, the extra-ministerial bureau of Japanese sports, as a key speaker to talk about the nation’s government led initiative 'Sport for Tomorrow'. Sport for Tomorrow is an international project to implement changes on national and international scale in time for and beyond 2020, which consists of three pillars; international cooperation through sports, academy for future sports leaders, and promotion of sport integrity through global anti-doping activities.

We also welcome Richard Caborn, former Minister of Sport or the UK, who will speak about the legacy of the London 2012 Olympics for sport in the UK. Overall, the symposium looks at sports’ versatility as a diplomatic communication medium, and how Japan approaches the unique opportunity of hosting mega-sporting events to leverage the power of sport in this time of globalization.

Event recording

Speaker biographies

Mr Tetsuya Kimura is Director-General at the Japan Sports Agency, a position he has held since 2015. The Japan Sports Agency leads comprehensive policies on sport and promotes collaboration of sports policies across relevant government agencies, with the aim to realise through sport a society where people are healthy in body and mind. Mr Kimura’s previous positions include Chamberlain to His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince of Japan, Minister at the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations, Director of the Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs Division in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and diplomatic positions at the Embassy of Japan in both Germany and Indonesia.  

Richard Caborn was a Member of Parliament for the British Labour Party from 1983 to 2010 and was the UK's longest serving Minister of Sport (2001 to 2007). In 2007 he was appointed the Prime Minister’s Ambassador for England’s then bid to host the 2018 Football World Cup. Since 2014 he has been appointed as business and industry ambassador for Sheffield City Council, including a role as project lead working on the development of Don Valley as Sheffield’s Olympic Legacy Park. During his time as Minister of Sport he ran in many marathons and he is an avid supporter of Sheffield United Football Club.

Dr J Simon Rofe is the inaugural director of CISD's Global Diplomacy Masters programme (Distance Learning). Prior to joining SOAS he was Senior Lecturer and Director of Distance Learning Director in the Department of Politics and International Relations, and Centre for American Studies at the University of Leicester. He has previously held positions in the Defence Studies Department of King’s College London at UK Defence Academy; in the American Studies Department at Canterbury Christ Church University; the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Kent at Canterbury.

Dr Helen Macnaughtan is Chair of the Japan Research Centre and Senior Lecturer in the School of Finance and Management at SOAS. Her research interests include a range of topics relating to economic and business history, gender and employment issues in contemporary Japan. She has published on the history of the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games, with particular focus on the story of the Gold Medal victory by the Japan women’s volleyball team.   

Organisers: SOAS Japan Research Centre, The Japan Foundation and the Japan Sport Council

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