Some of students, colleagues, and I have been discussing the issue of sport as both a lens for understanding conflict and as a tool for peacebuilding in a course in Sport, Peace, and Conflict I'm teaching this summer in Conflict & Peace Studies at UNCG and a presentation I gave at the 4th International Conference on Conflict Resolution in Education. I've also been following Meeghan Zahorsky's blog on this site. Here some some thoughts.
I think we have to continue to see sport as a "tool" for peacebuilding - essentially as a means rather than an "end" state. Getting people to play together is great for a multitude of reasons, but getting it to mean something is much harder. At this point, there are as more well documented examples of sport leading to negative conflict than positive peace. Just think of your favorite sports rivalry - any Celtic, Rangers, Barca or Real Madrid out there want to comment on how playing together does not always lead to cooperation? That is the role of researchers and pracademics in this field, we have to design and document processes that can demonstrate not just that but HOW this works...more