Benefits of Intercultural Cooperation in Sport-for-Development: Complementing International Expertise with Local Community Knowledge

International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education (ICSSPE)
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Sport as a Mediator between Cultures Conference, 2012, pp. 161 - 174
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There is increasing evidence that government agencies and NGOs are turning to sport-for-development (S4D) projects as a tool for inclusive social change, reconciliation and peace-building in divided societies. In a developing world context, it is particularly challenging for (Western) sport organisers and âchange agentsâ to establish and maintain projects that are both professionally managed and culturally meaningful. Surprisingly, the involvement of international change agents and their cooperation with local communities at intergroup development projects has not received much empirical investigation. In addressing this gap, the purpose of this paper is twofold: First, an analysis of the roles and responsibilities of a sport event change agent in the ethnically divided Sri Lanka is presented. Central to this analysis are the sport and event activities of the Asian-German Sports Exchange Programme, and their contribution to reconciliation and peace building in Sri Lanka. Second, in discussing the research findings and their importance for inclusive and sustainable development, this paper incorporates additional practical experiences from S4D projects such as the âFootball for Peaceâ initiative in Israel, and the âHealthy Communitiesâ program in Vanuatu. Despite their contextual differences, all these sport-based development projects are designed to make a lasting difference within and between disadvantaged communities.
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