A Brighton professor who co-founded a global programme using football to bring peace has been invited to advise the United Nations.
John Sugden, the University of Brighton’s Emeritus Professor of the Sociology of Sport, will be part of an expert group supporting the Division for Social Policy and Development of the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
He will fly to the UN’s New York headquarters in June for a meeting ‘Strengthening the Global Framework for Leveraging Sport for Development and Peace’ in preparation for a report to the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in September.
Professor Sugden said: “This is an honour for all those at the University who have helped build and promote Football for Peace International. It is also evidence of how the programme is contributing to global policy in and through sport.
“With conflicts happening around the world, the need for sport to help bridge divisions and unite communities has never been greater.”
Football for Peace (F4P) is a sport-based co-existence and conflict resolution programme supported by top sporting personalities including England’s World Cup hero Sir Bobby Charlton.
The UN meeting in June will explore sport’s contribution to sustainable development and its contribution to building and sustaining peace.
Professor Sugden, with Professor Alan Tomlinson, the University’s Professor of Leisure Studies, and Principal Lecturer Dr Gary Stidder, founded F4P in 2001 after identifying the capacity of sport to provide the catalyst to intervene where cultural conflict exists.
Professor Tomlinson said: “The UN input is a real tribute to John’s work in leading the development of this area of study.” And Dr Stidder, Deputy Director of F4P International said: “This invitation is concrete evidence of impact and F4P International’s contribution to global policy in and through sport.
“The F4P International Executive board is delighted to be represented at this important international expert group meeting and this is confirmation of the world standing that F4P International has, particularly in the political climate we currently find ourselves.”
F4P has had significant international reach, facilitating the participation of over 8,000 children, 600 coaches and many community leaders in countries including Israel, Jordan, Palestine, Ireland, South Africa, The Gambia and South Korea.
Effectively transferring research into practice, F4P has had an impact by creating social transformation through the promotion of intercultural understanding, changing the policies of sporting organisations, inspiring peace ambassadors and shaping political discourse.
For more information, go to: https://www.brighton.ac.uk/research-and-enterprise/groups/stl/research-projects/football-for-peace.aspx