Sport Diplomacy Academy
October 12-17, 2019 – Sofia
Last week, an Italian representation of 20 participants travelled to Sofia, Bulgaria, for the first Sport Diplomacy Academy module, involving 4 partner countries: Bulgaria, Italy, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. We told you about the project in our previous article; today, you can read about it from one of the participants!
As can be deduced from the name of the project, the main theme of the programme is definitely sports, and the project’s protagonists are all those people operate within a sports context, for work of for passion. All partner countries sent 20 participants that formed as heterogeneous a group as possible, so as to reach all of the realities and facets of the world of sport.
The week started of through various exercises to get to know the different people present, which was aimed at getting to know and understanding the various dimensions in which the participants operate. Through these actions, we also started a personal journey of discovery and sharing. This knowledge of the participants ensured that we could start a path of collaboration, through moments of sport or leisure. Thanks to these actions, we kicked off the creation of a big network of opportunities.
The moments devoted to socialising were in big parts left over to the participants of the project; the other, more formal aspects, however, were coordinated, with great care, by the organizers.
Advice on communication, both verbal and non-verbal, and presentations before the big group that was present taught us how to speak in front of an audience. If to that we add the fact that all of this was taking place in English, the experience and the lessons we take home are even worth twice as much.
We were given the opportunity to listen to the testimonies of local authorities like the mayor of one of the municipalities of Sofia, of even the Austrian ambassador to Bulgaria. These testimonies gave us ideas on how to solve problems of economics and logistics in the world of sports. The solutions we developed are easily transferable, and therefore applicable to all of the daily realities of the participants, which makes them extremely valuable.
Diplomacy, of course, was the absolute main theme of the project. Plenty of time was given to the topic to start understanding what it means, what it is used for and why it is important. After getting a general idea, we started digging into the part of it that unites with sports: the sum of these two elements confers limitless power, for both good and evil. Being able to listen to pioneers who deal with these topics in their daily lives made us clearly understand how valuable the concept is, and how much can be accomplished even with little.
After an intense week concluded in a more than satisfactory manner, all of the 80 participants take home important lessons, a personal and cultural growth, but above all a vision of the future consisting of collaboration, sharing and union. All of us are now impatient of going to Sarajevo for the second module, to continue developing this joint journey.
Interested in keeping up with our Italian diplomats and the entire SDA project? Don’t hesitate to check out their Facebook page here!