Sports diplomacy is currently an under theorised phenomenon however, it is an increasingly popular public diplomacy tool for governments at national, regional and international levels. This seminar will highlight some activities undertaken by the National Rugby League (NRL) with Indigenous Australian and Pasifika communities that can be considered as sports diplomacy. The NRL as an institution is in a unique position to affect social change for Indigenous Australian and Pasifika communities in Australia and the Pacific region. The NRL is the most watched sports competition on Australian television and one of the most watched sports in the Pacific region, particularly as rugby league is the national sport of Papua New Guinea. The NRL is also the most culturally diverse sport compared to Australian Football League (AFL), Super Rugby and ANZ Netball competitions. In June 2015 the NRL reported that Indigenous Australians currently represent 11% of all NRL elite athletes while 42% are of Pasifika heritage. Therefore for the NRL minority cultural groups are now the majority. Given these factors and figures alone the NRL should seriously be considered a diplomatic partner for the Australian national and local governments. The NRL and specifically former players of Indigenous Australian and Pasifika heritage are aware of their potential and influence in reshaping and improving the social lives of their respective communities. These former players who have moved on to become administrators within the NRL have actively been involved in developing and leading a number of culturally specific social programs. This seminar will highlight some of the NRL Indigenous Australian and Pasifika community development, cultural and leadership programs, and discuss the challenges and opportunities of sports diplomacy with the NRL.
|Publication status||Published - 2015|