Participation, Inclusion and Social Responsibility in Global Sports 

Weatherhead Initiative on Global History, Harvard University
Supported by Simmons College, Boston, MA

Sponsored by Olympiacos F.C.

Harvard University
May 31-June 2, 2018

As the international community focuses on the 2018 World Cup in Russia, we are proud to host a conference on Participation, Inclusion, and Social Responsibility in Global Sports. The third conference in the series on Soccer and Globalizationa collaboration between Olympiacos FC, the Weatherhead Initiative on Global History at Harvard University, and Simmons Collegewill pick up on themes first explored in our first two conferences, “Soccer as a Global Phenomenon” (Cambridge, MA 2016) and “Reinforcing, Crossing, and Transcending Borders: Soccer in a Globalized World” (Piraeus, Greece 2017).

Focusing on participation and inclusion in global sports from a historical and modern-day perspective, we look to better understand how and why certain types of people are allowed to participate and others are not. We will expand beyond soccer/football into a cross-section of sports and focus on what is being done to address these inequalities.

The conference is organized around four sessions on topics such as race, gender, immigration, and social responsibility in global sports. Each session consists of a panel of leading scholars on sports as it affects economics, history, social structures, and the fabric of global life. The panels will be followed by a Roundtable discussion on the same topic, featuring former football stars like Lilian Thuram, Christian Karembeu, and Emilio Butragueño, as well as representatives from an international roster of teams and clubs, including the Boston Red Sox Foundation, FC Barcelona, UEFA, and the Seattle Sounders Foundation. Nonprofits like the Right to Dream Academy as well as writers and filmmakers will also have a voice at the table. This unique format creates a dialogue between different stakeholders who are rarely in direct conversation.

All over the world, people define themselves by their relationship to sports, whether as a participant or a fan. Expats remain loyal to their country of origin’s team and organize complex societies around viewing games together. LGBTQ athletes assert their identity by organizing a soccer league in Turkey. By focusing on how teams and clubs can support inclusion, we hope to unleash the true power of global sports.

Principal Conveners:
Sven Beckert, Laird Bell Professor of History, Harvard University
Stephen Ortega, Associate Professor of History, Simmons College

Additional Conveners:
Yağmur Nuhrat, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Bilgi University
Daren Graves, Associate Professor of Education, Simmons College
Richard Giulianotti, Professor of Sociology, Lougborough Unhivesity
Darragh McGee, Assistant Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Bath  

Initiator of Conference Series: Cemal Kafadar, Vehbi Koç Professor of Turkish Studies,
Harvard University