Golden Games: Sport and Diplomacy in East Asia and Beyond
Date : 11 Dec 2017 - 12 Dec 2017
Venue : Asia Research Institute, Seminar Room
AS8, Level 4, 10 Kent Ridge Crescent, Singapore 119260
National University of Singapore @ Kent Ridge Campus
Download Program and Abstracts

This conference is jointly organized by the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, and Yale-NUS College, with support from SOAS, University of London, UK.

The study of sport and diplomacy is of value in and of itself, enhancing how an understanding of this aspect of physical culture has become integral to global diplomatic relations. Sport forms a key dimension of East Asia and beyond; and will be a prominent feature of regional diplomacy for the next eight years at least with the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang (2018) and then Beijing (2022), and the Summer Games in Tokyo (2020). As such these mega events will be a medium for diplomacy between the region and the rest of the world. As has been recognized for many years, international sporting events have been sites of diplomacy, reflecting emerging tensions and fault lines. It is unsurprising then that sports mega events feature prominently in contemporary discourse; since they have formed the basis for public diplomacy initiatives as well as acting as a conduit for boycotting in protest of the actions of host nations. At the same time, the parameters of diplomatic activity as it relates to sport, go further than such events. For example, decisions on the governance of sport, attempts to pursue development objectives through engaging with sports based interventions and funding of elite sport development projects as part of efforts to enhance international performance, all have implications for the representation of collectives (states, nations, and other groupings) and can form part of the diplomatic frame.

The conference has the broad aim to explore the relationship between sport and diplomacy at all levels since the early 20th century. In what ways has sport shaped diplomacy – and diplomacy shaped sport within the Asian realm? Is there something which distinguishes Asia, and/or Singapore’s sport and diplomacy? What is the relationship between sport, development, and peace in Asia? How does the media portray international sport? What is the extent of business interest in sport in the 20th and 21st century?


We would also like to invite you to join us for the ROUNDTABLE AND LECTURE on 11 December 2017, which are being held in conjunction with the conference.
Please note that this would be held at the National Gallery Singapore (NGS), from 4.00 - 7.00 pm.

J. Simon Rofe | SOAS University of London, UK (Chairperson)
Nicholas Aplin | National Institute of Education, Singapore
Rohit Brijnath | The Straits Times, Singapore
Isao Okada | Mainichi Shinbun (Mainichi Newspaper), Japan
Matthew Oakley | Asia Rugby

TEA RECEPTION (5:30 - 6:00 pm)

KEYNOTE LECTURE (6:00 - 7:00 pm)
Heralding the Games: The Evolution of Olympic Posters
Margaret Timmers | Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK


Admission for both events are free. Please click on the "Register" button above to RSVP for the conference.

We would greatly appreciate if you could also register for the roundtable and lecture, if you are attending both events, to help us facilitate transport arrangement to NGS.

Bus coupons will be issued during registration between 09:45 – 10:00 am, on a first come, first served basis.
Those who have pre-registered for both events would be given priority.


Dr Stefan HUEBNER (Hübner)
Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore

Prof Naoko SHIMAZU
Yale-NUS College

Dr J. Simon ROFE
SOAS University of London, UK

Contact Person(s)
Valerie YEO