The history of the Sports Diplomacy Alliance
In January 2019, Dr. Sarah Kelly OAM and Mr. Simon Szewach, with the guidance of Dr. Stuart Murray (senior consultant) — individuals renowned for global success at the intersection of training, sport, business, and diplomacy — founded the Sports Diplomacy Alliance (the Alliance). The organisation formalises what they have been working on for decades: pioneering new ideas for profit, and designing, implementing, and evaluating a range of services that connect governments, universities, businesses, and sports people and agencies.
The Alliance was formed to meet a growing demand for consultancy, accreditation, and training on Sports Diplomacy from stakeholders worldwide. We are proud to be the first and only organisation to have created, designed, and measured the power, value, and impact of Sports Diplomacy.
The journey to establishing a formal Sports Diplomacy process began in Berlin in 2011, when Dr. Murray wrote and presented the first, seminal paper (Sports Diplomacy – a Game of Two Halves) in the new area of studies. Not only did the Alliance coin the term ‘Sports Diplomacy’, we wrote the actual book on Sports Diplomacy. We have since worked on every major project, whether in Dubai, Edinburgh, Beijing, or Kabul.
The Alliance seeks to build an international society of sport. We are pioneers, experts and leaders in how sport can be used to affect social, political or economic change, and we are always looking for new partners to join us.
The opportunity for The Alliance remains obvious: governments, academic institutions, businesses, and sports people and bodies often share the same goals for international sports projects but rarely talk to one another. Disconnection prevails both nationally (between state agencies and sporting bodies) and internationally (between nations).
The Alliance provides the missing link between the major players in Sports Diplomacy.
As it is a new term, some people remain puzzled about Sports Diplomacy. Others confuse it with political policy, sports development, or international aid. Our core functions are fourfold:
- To provide cutting-edge research and training on how sport can lead to measurable social, diplomatic, or economic change.
- To ‘join the dots’, connecting individuals and organisations with a view to sharing costs, resources, and expertise on sports projects.
- To prove that sport has the power to change the world. The Alliance can demonstrate the tangible impact of Sports Diplomacy and share strategies to deploy it.