International Sports Diplomacy Postgraduate Specialisation Programme (SDP)

Most professional athletes are highly successful in their respective sports; however, they might face major challenges when finding themselves in divers roles serving various organizations, companies, sport clubs and federations. The same applies to others closely associated with sports organizations: they may come from a plethora of backgrounds, for example economics, law and a wide range of other fields, but may not necessarily possess the sophisticated skill set of a sport diplomat essential for anyone working in international organisations, mega sport events, diplomatic missions, policy-making, or operative jobs.

This new and exciting international program in Sports Diplomacy (SDP), a one-year postgraduate hybrid program offered at the Hungarian University of Sports Science, Budapest, Hungary, provides a powerful and valuable platform for those who wish to expand their skills and understanding of diplomacy, international relations, intercultural challenges, protocol, management and language skills required in the highly demanding fast-paced environment of sport federations and institutions.

Sports Diplomacy (SD) is “the conscious, strategic and ongoing use of sport, sportspeople and sporting events by state and non-state actors to advance policy, trade, development, education, image, reputation, brand, and people-to-people links.” (Stewart Murray)

Unlike other forms of diplomacy, sports diplomacy has no barrier because sports are a universal phenomenon, transcending linguistic, national, and cultural boundaries. Like the objectives of traditional diplomacy, true sportsmanship promotes friendship, respect, and tolerance, among other universal values. Therefore, using sports as a tool of diplomacy is organic and valuable in creating opportunities for peaceful coexistence between nations. 

What is sports diplomacy? >>>

See also >>>

SD in a recent TES-D policy report: 

  • “involves representative and diplomatic activities undertaken by sportspeople on behalf of and in conjunction with their governments. (Murray and Pigman, 2014; Pigman, 2014)
  • can also create alternate channels for diplomacy, allowing states to move beyond entrenched foreign-policy positions” (Murray and Pigman, 2014; Pigman, 2014)
  • is “a form of public diplomacy that treats sport as an arena of diplomatic activity” (Kobierecki, 2017, based on Nygård and Gates, 2013)
  • is a means (tool) of soft power: it represents the ability to attract and influence through culture or values (Nye, 1990)
  • is an effective tool for cultural diplomacy, exchange diplomacy and advocacy for particular policies or ideas in the public mind abroad
  • fosters the image and attractiveness of a country, region or city
  • influences decision and policy making
  • helps to achieve foreign-policy goals in ways that the public can understand Towards an eu sport diplomacy logo

Literature review of a scholarly and policy recources >>>

Further resources >>>

International Sports Diplomacy Postgraduate Specialisation Programme (SDP) - one-year postgraduate hybrid program

Sports Diplomacy Specialist” (60 ECTs) program is particularly designed for those who work in international relations and sports: second-career professional athletes who take roles at sports federations, GOs and NGOs, diplomats who wish to develop their understanding of global sports affairs, and those who come from other areas of science, industry, culture and public administration with a desire to operate successfully in sport and diplomatic avenues. Since it is a practice-oriented program, those already facing challenges in the above areas will find the program helpful and valuable.

The program is designed to prepare graduates for the broad field of sports diplomacy related studies, by:

  • Understanding conceptual and empirical framework of sports diplomacy within international and intergovernmental context
  • Integrating theoretical knowledge with practical skills across sports diplomacy domain
  • Critically review literature, integrating research and data and application of an analytical approach
  • Accessing, collaborating, and adopting to diverse national, regional and international application of sports diplomacy
  • Developing skills set to work in public administration, international, intergovernmental and multinational organizations and sports movement.

Completing this program enables the graduates to acquire and develop their diplomatic skills, their understanding of the complexities and correlations in global sports administration and industry, and to communicate successfully in international negotiations, events and other activities. Their capacity to organize diplomatic events, follow protocol, mediate conflicts and promote their nation, sport and organization is to grow substantially. They also expand their coping methods, proactivity, strategic thinking, empathy, integrity and sense of responsibility. Their knowledge of cultural, social and citizenship values will naturally increase. Primarily this program should enhance sports diplomacy related knowledge and skills, however, there are important auxiliary competencies the participants may develop, enabling them to improve their coping abilities with challenging situations in the international business and sports arena as well as their labor market value and opportunities. The capacity to handle business, intercultural and political situations, mediate, advocate and represent effectively is essential for those working on the threshold of sports and international relations, support sport industry, corporate entities, sport events, various national and international organizations.

Mission: At the International Sports Diplomacy Postgraduate Specialisation Programme, our mission is to empower individuals who are driven by the pursuit of success in the global sports arena. We are dedicated to provide specialized, area-specific interdisciplinary knowledge that serves as a catalyst for career development. Our aim is to offer unwavering support for national and international sport organizations, governmental (GOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) alike.

Vision: Our vision is to be the forefront provider of high-quality interdisciplinary training and academic support within the realm of sports-related organizations and events. We aspire to create an environment that fosters innovation, creativity, and advanced expertise in the dynamic world of sports diplomacy. By instilling a sense of responsibility and leadership, we envision contributing to the growth and sustainability of sports diplomacy on a global scale.

Values: At the core of our program are values that guide every aspect of our operations:

  • Excellence: We are committed to uphold the highest standards of excellence in all our endeavors. Through rigorous academic training and comprehensive support, we enable participants to strive for and achieve potency.
  • Respect and Inclusion: Mutual respect is the cornerstone of our community. We value diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and cultures, fostering an inclusive environment where every individual's contribution is valued and celebrated. We believe in the power of inclusion to drive innovation and success. Our program is a platform where individuals from various walks of life come together to collaborate, learn, and grow.
  • Commitment: Our team is deeply committed to the success of every participant. We are dedicated to providing unwavering support, guidance, and mentorship as they navigate their journey in the sports diplomacy arena.

Join us in this exciting journey of exploration, learning, and growth as we work together to shape the future of Sports Diplomacy. At the International Sports Diplomacy Postgraduate Specialisation Programme, we are not just fostering champions on the field, but also ambassadors of positive change in the world.

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