Utah leads out in leveraging sports diplomacy to build local communities and connect Utah around the globe
Salt Lake City—As the host of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games and prospective host for the 2030 Olympic Winter Games, Utah is no stranger to the economic impact that professional sports generate. But beyond revenue, professional and community sports are an incredible tool of diplomacy – connecting individuals across the globe and within local neighborhoods.
Utah Global Diplomacy’s November World Affairs Symposium Series entitled, Sports Diplomacy: Leveling the Socioeconomic Playing Field, highlighted the impact that sports diplomacy has in building global bridges and connecting local communities. Sports diplomacy employs sports and athletic events to strengthen international relations, promote cooperation, and enhance communication among nations and cultures. Beyond its global impact, it plays a vital role in boosting local economies and addressing socioeconomic challenges, fostering peace and goodwill while supporting community growth.
Adam Miles, Founder and Executive Director of Refugee Soccer, shared the transformative power that Refugee Soccer has in building communities. With the goal of connecting refugee & mainstream communities through soccer-related activities, Refugee Soccer organizes missions to refugee camps around the world to deliver hope and happiness. The positive interactions created through sports fosters deeper cultural understanding and meaningful relationships that transcend race, religion, gender and background.
In her keynote remarks, First Lady Abby Cox shared her passion for building communities through her Show Up Unified Sports initiative. This initiative brings together athletes with and without disabilities to play on the same team, competing and learning from each other in a variety of sports. The program breaks down barriers and promotes understanding and respect for all individuals, regardless of their abilities.
“Sports diplomacy is a powerful catalyst for positive social change, breaking down barriers, and fostering global connections,” said Utah Global Diplomacy President & CEO, Felecia Maxfield-Barrett. “Utah has established itself as a leader in sports diplomacy as an Olympic Game host, home to both major and minor sports teams, youth sports programs, and as a destination for numerous world championship events. Through sports we have an opportunity to share about Utah’s values, engage marginalized communities and level the socioeconomic playing field.”
Other presenters included:
- Catherine Raney Norman, Olympian and Chair, Salt Lake City – Utah Committee for the Games
- Andy Chesnut, General Manager & Chief Commercial Officer Warriors Rugby
- Danelle Umstead, Sisters in Sports Foundation
- Dr. Neftalie Williams, Sociologist and Assistant Professor at San Diego State University
- Tiffany Shwartz, USAT Off-Road Duathlon National Champion
Utah Global Diplomacy’s World Affairs Symposium Series, is free and open to the public made possible through the generous support of Ambassador John Price & Marcia Price. Each symposium brings together expert researchers, academics, policymakers, writers, and change agents to explore thought-provoking and critical global issues that directly impact Utah.
ABOUT UTAH GLOBAL DIPLOMACY:
Utah Global Diplomacy is committed to promoting respect and understanding between the people of Utah and other nations. This is done through citizen diplomacy – the concept that every individual has the right, even the responsibility, to help shape U.S. foreign relations by connecting with each other one handshake at a time. Utah Global Diplomacy applies citizen diplomacy efforts through its International Exchange Programs (in partnership with the U.S. State Department), World Affairs Lectures, Dialogues, & Conversations, and its Young Diplomats of Utah program. You can join Utah Global Diplomacy’s community and conversations at www.utahglobaldiplomacy.org or by emailing [email protected].