Reviving Authentic Sports Diplomacy

By Ambassador Stuart Holliday, CEO of Meridian International Center While the world was preparing for the quadrennial spectacle that would be the World Cup, a crowd at the Allianz Area in Munich broke out into John Denver’s, ‘Country Roads.’ On Sunday, November 13, the National Football League (NFL) had a historic, first-ever regular-season game in Germany as part of their NFL International Series (a series of American football played outside the United States) and returned to Mexico City for the San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals on November 21 as part of the first regular-season game of the year...

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Mental Health on the Global Stage: Lessons from 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Media has played the largest role in influencing how audiences think and absorb news, especially for cultural defining events like the Olympics. This year’s media coverage of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics took an unexpected spin on the traditional political comparison rhetoric by instead placing mental health on the podium.  Former U.S. Olympians like Serena Williams, Raven Saunders and Aly Raisman have expressed the importance of amplifying mental health messages in sports and on the world stage in the past. “I felt when I was competing, my whole worth was revolved around how I competed at the Olympics. I would love to...

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Sports Diplomacy at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

On the heels of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, we reflect on the unique power of sport and its ability to bring people, nations and communities closer together. This year’s Olympics brought new contributions to the table—six sports and discussions around sportsmanship. Despite the physical absence of political figures and global leaders this year, the Olympics have influenced social and political movements over the decades, including how athletes use their platforms to uplift the voices of others. The early 1970s introduced the term “ping-pong diplomacy” when table tennis players from the U.S. and China first competed at the 31st...

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Arts and Culture Advocacy: The Unsung Heroes of American Society

Whether it’s a podcast you listen to on your commute or your book club’s latest pick, we consume arts and culture daily through various mediums. As we adapt to a post-pandemic world, the arts and culture are in a new renaissance. Despite the devastating losses in the field over the last 18 months, artists and creators around the world showed their resilience and innovation, leading to new ways of engaging with the arts and using their creativity to design solutions to challenges brought on by COVID-19. The arts and culture have been a cornerstone for our global society’s sanity...

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Building Cultural Competency through Storytelling with Bela Bajaria

The following blog post was contributed by Bela Bajaria, head of Global TV for Netflix and guest at culturefix, our inaugural cultural diplomacy celebration on June 9, 2021.  What inspired you to pursue a career in TV and international programming specifically? I was born in London and moved to the U.S. with my family when I was 8. One of the ways I learned to speak with an American accent was by immersing myself in American TV – Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, and so many others. What that also did was it make me believe in the...

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