The 2nd Conference on Sport Diplomacy focuses on the importance of the Olympic Games
Albert Royo emphasizes the importance of sport as a tool for diplomacy and bringing countries closer together
Following the success of last year’s conference, the Plataforma Proseleccions Esportives Catalanes (a body promoting the existence of Catalan national sport teams), together with the support of the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (Diplocat) and the Catalan government’s General Secretariat for Sport, have organized the 2nd Conference on International Sport Diplomacy and Sporting Models at the Melcior Colet Museum in Barcelona. The main topic under debate was the worldwide importance of the Olympic Games.
The event was opened by Xavier Vinyals, president of the Plataforma Proseleccions Esportives Catalanes, and Albert Royo, secretary-general of Diplocat. Gerard Figueres, Catalonia’s Secretary-General for Sport closed the conference. Vinyals welcomed the participants and expressed his wishes that these debates offer a space for reflecting on the future of Catalan sport in an international context. Royo spoke about the importance of sport and its values as a diplomacy tool which, in the case of Catalonia, “brings us closer to the rest of the world and helps us overcome barriers.” He also spoke about Catalonia as a sporting power and explained that six of the thirty-nine members of the newly-formed Advisory Council of Diplocat are from the world of sport.
The first round table looked at two different European models, with contributions from Lazlo Fábián, director of the Hungarian Olympic Committee and gold medal-winner at the Seoul Olympic Games, and Edvard Kolar, secretary-general of the Slovenian Olympic Committee. They both described how their respective committees are organized and the relationship they have with their governments. Arturas Poviliunas, ex-president of the Lithuanian Olympic Committee (1988-2012), who should have been at the debate too, was unable to attend and sent a written summary of his ideas instead.
Afterwards, the second round table looked at why the Olympic Games are so important. Fábián and Kolar participated again, as did Jordi Alcover, vice-president of the European Hockey Foundation, and Manuel Ibern, member of the International Swimming Federation (FINA) and ex-secretary-general of Sport of the Catalan government.
Last updated: 22 June 2017