Emmanol Galdus: “There are few tools as powerful as sport to put a country in the world”

Sport, in all its extension, is a great ambassador for making Uscademy known in the world. This is known as sports diplomacy

organized by Donostia culture In cooperation with the Basque government and the provincial council, this Thursday a Webinar on Sports Diplomacya new concept describing The ability of sport to highlight the brand of a country or from a province. This sport is understandable soft power. Both international and Basque experts (Roberto Olabi, Clara Azurmendi, Edurne Pasaban, or Juan Ignacio Zuleca) will be reflected in the Open course for 2 hours (in English) under Edited by Emanuel Galdous Which aspires to be the starting point for the Basque strategy in sports diplomacy. Interested parties can register in Website Donostia.eus.

What is sports diplomacy?

Although sport has historically played a crucial role in diplomacy, in the international branding of countries, cities and regions as well as in paradiplomacy and as an element of peoples’ identity, the concept of sport diplomacy is a relatively new one. A new term to refer to an old practice. A field that accommodates the multiplicity of actors, and overcomes the exclusivity exercised by states in the past.

Any country brand selling through Sports Reputation?

– Stuart Murray, a Scotsman at Bond University (Australia) who will open the event, is the concept creator and defines it as the strategic use of sport by state and non-state actors and athletes to establish relationships, amplify messages, promote political, commercial or personal goals, and raise awareness of threats. Old and new security. In the vast literature that has been produced in connection with sports diplomacy, a remarkable consensus emerges in its status as an element in the formation of public diplomacy and in its association as an instrument of soft power.

Is it just an economic concept? –It is a concept that departs, without contempt, from purely economic standards. It is a powerful tool for international positioning. There are few tools as powerful as sport to put a country, state, region or city on the international agenda. Powerful countries like the United States or China have spent decades devoting significant resources to sports diplomacy to convince the world of their lifestyle or values..

Does the Basque Country have any kind of strategy in this area?

The first reflection that should be noted is that although there is a congruence in the goals pursued by states, the reality of the sub-state operates with different strategies and tools, and in some unique cases. In many cases, the Basque Country is an example, sports diplomacy actually exists but it has not yet been given a normative aspect in the form of strategy. It must be remembered that we are facing a new field and in this context it should be noted that until recently there have been no explicit plans or documents that compile the goals, resources and agendas that governments intend to develop in the field of sports diplomacy. For example, the Welsh government itself in October 2020 gave its first strategic plan and this is indicative of a very contemporary phenomenon.

Sport is an intrinsic part of Euskadi. We start from an important base.

Basque sports diplomacy has an ally that other realities lack, state or otherwise: a highly suggestive narrative, with distinct elements. On the other hand, it is an excellent tool for putting sports in a national perspective, overcoming administrative divisions. I think that the Basque Country itself is a unique model that interests many. It has distinct elements that do not occur in other realities. Some numbers in terms of sports that are hard to match, with an organizational structure and a well-proven international reputation as an organizer of major sporting events.

What key assets does Oscadi have in illustrating the strategy of sports diplomacy?

It has charm, authenticity, and is close to the legend, which attracts the attention and attention of many. The specificity of indigenous sports (current in part of the Basque diaspora, especially in the United States) is an element that must be analyzed in greater depth. In this same vein, it is worth noting the uniqueness of Jai-Alai as a powerful tool in the Basque brand that opened Euskadi to the world.

What kind of benefits could a sport-based diplomatic strategy bring to the Basque Country?

– Everything won. There is a lot to explore in this emerging field. We have a lot of cards to play. There is no doubt that the officials of the Basque teams found insurmountable walls. But, in a way, based on the opportunities offered by sports diplomacy, progress must be made on the path of finding alliances that pay to overcome siege, rejection, and boycott. When the doors are closed, we must try to open new ones to avoid eternal frustrations.

Do you not think that the brand image of Euskadi in the sports field is known internationally?

Without a doubt, the brand is an indisputable fact. But we must strengthen and expand it. When traveling, and this must be kept in mind, one still realizes that there is a long way to go in making ourselves known and known. There is another element that must be highlighted. Basque sport embodies the values ​​and symbols that enhance the friendly image of our country. This is what soft power is made of, what countries like the United States, South Korea or Japan have been doing for decades. It is one of our best business cards

Who is the course for and how can you attend it?

– It is a 2-hour webinar that must be understood as a first step in future projects. Attendance is free and only registration is required, even moments before the event begins. It is not an academic event, although agents from the field participate in it. It was presented from a broad perspective. Open to anyone curious about sports and sports diplomacy. Persons who work in sports federations and clubs or in public administration, journalists, athletes or sports enthusiasts. It is worth noting the large number of registrations made from all over the world, which indicates the great interest that Basque sports arouse. It’s a great show and an excellent platform to introduce ourselves.


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