Andrew Hunter, former General Manager (China Engagement), Port Adelaide Football Club.
There are many examples of sport being used for breakthrough diplomacy: Barack Obama’s use of baseball in the normalisation of relations between USA and Cuba; ice hockey between the USSR and Canada in 1972, and ping pong diplomacy in 1971, the latter even involving Australia.
The Australian Ping Pong team were invited to China while competing at the World Championships in Nagoya in early 1971. They eventually accepted the invitation and played exhibition games in Guangzhou and Shanghai before being received in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in March 1971, encouraging Gough Whitlam to visit Beijing as leader of the opposition later that year.
Fast forward to 2019, and the Festival of Australia ran across 10 Chinese cities, a two-week program of business networking, consumer activities and online promotions, culminating in the Australian Rules AFL match between Port Adelaide and St Kilda in Shanghai on 2 June 2019. A classic example of sports diplomacy building goodwill between people.
COVID of course has brought such aspirations to a halt for the time being, but 2022 brings an opportunity to re-engage. The Winter Olympics will be held in Beijing in February. It also presents an opportunity to re-establish the Festival of Australia, and the AFL game as part of it. Will we use sport to engage, or exclude?
Following the recent release of Port Adelaide to Shanghai: Taking Australia’s game to the World (Wakefield Press, 2020), AIIA Victoria invites you to join Andrew Hunter to discuss the role of sports diplomacy in the Australia-China bilateral relationship, and more widely how sport could be deployed in an omnidirectional foreign policy for Australia.
Andrew Hunter worked as General Manager (China Engagement) at Port Adelaide Football Club between 2015 and 2020. He holds a Master of Philosophy (Asian Studies) from The University of Adelaide. A professional athlete and national team representative in indoor volleyball, he has written over 100 opinion pieces for the Adelaide Review, InDaily, Adelaide Advertiser, Canberra Times and the Australian.
Please note that due to COVID restrictions on interstate travel, this event will now be webinar only. Registrations close on Thursday 25 February at 2pm, after which you will receive a follow-up email containing details of how to join the Zoom webinar. The event will commence at 6pm AEDT (Melbourne time, UTC+11).
AIIA Victoria gratefully acknowledges the Walter Mangold Trust Fund for its ongoing support of our young members.
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