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#SportDiplomacyAcademymodule was held in Rijeka

In the period 10-16 of July 2021 in Rijeka, Croatia was held the third module under the Sport Diplomacy Academy project, which aims to bring together 80 sports administrators, coaches and volunteers from4 countries. The first encountering of the sport diplomats after COVID-19 pandemic was emotional and desired event that was able to gather more than 50 participants from the original project group that are passionate to continue their diplomacy journey and to learn more about the module topics of successful verbal and non-verbal communication, as well the one with public authorities, publics peaking and campaign creation, marketing in sports and as well–aspects of sport diplomacy, related to the forthcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo. During the module, the sport experts has discussed as well the effect of COVID on sport sector, ways forward and possibilities of providing wider place of sport in the political agenda of the recovery world.

The third module of the Sport Diplomacy Academy has been focused on public presentation and the main messages that the expert speakers, joining the sport diplomats sent was:

•”Do not limit your dreams in sport”-Zdravko Ivankovic, Head of Rijeka municipality department for sports and technical culture during the official opening of the Academy;

•”Sustainability is the key in communication with public authorities”-Luka Dobrovic, Secretary General, Rijeka sport association for persons with disabilities;

•”Sport represents one of the foundations of our society, including wide societal effect and in this aspect-the powerful tool of sport diplomacy cannot be ignored as well. European Commission strongly supports the development of European sport sector, understanding the potential of sport in our communities”-Ognian Zlatev, Head of the European Commission Representation in Croatia

•”Communication should be a win-win situation, adding value to all participants in this process”-Vitomir Maričić, High level athlete

•”First impression is emotional, not rational. Dress, behave, and communicate in a way that reflects the audience.”-prof. dr. sc. Zlatan Car

•”Spoken words have much more power than written speech. Good presentations might look informal, but they are mostly highly organized”-Zdravko Ivankovic, Head of the city administration department for sports

•”Marketing is not only business function-it is a way of thinking, business philosophy, a part of every bodies business. It is creating value for potential customers, satisfying the customers needs. Sport is not exemption in this process”-Sanda Čorak, President of Croatian judo federation

•“Japan’s Ping-Pong diplomacy is one of the first platforms in the history of modern times, revealing the power of sport. When political power, when diplomatic power are limited, power of sport still can go further. Positive power of sport should be used in all its aspects.”-Prof. Dr. Zubaidullo Ubaidulloev, Sport Diplomacy researcher, Japan.

During the module in Rijeka, participants had the opportunity to work in mixed groups and express their views on the different aspects of communication and as well – to organize a public campaign in Trsat Stais, raising awareness of the power of sport in daily life through #StreetSportCare activity that involved the citizens in the city. The Sport Diplomacy Academy projects is a legacy of the first Bulgarian Presidency of the EU Council, which took place in the first half of 2018. The project focus on cooperation with the Western Balkans as a logical continuation of all activities carried out under the #EU2018BG Priority: Perspective of the EU and the Western Balkans connectivity, citing the Sofia Declaration and the Sofia and EU Priority Agenda for the EU and the Western Balkans. The European Union and the Western Balkans must continue to invest in efforts to strengthen cooperation and the exchange of good practices focused on democracy, security and fundamental human rights.

Project ensures the educational mobility of coaches and other staff of sport organizations (incl. volunteers) linked to professional and grassroots sport. The four mobility modules, which will be implemented in each partner country, will improve the skills and competences of a total of 80 sports professionals, as well as their qualifications, through learning mobility. Learning mobility is planned as an investment in human capital and a contribution to the capacity building of various sport organizations with clear focus on building a network of well-trained sport diplomats.

After the implemented project mobilities, each of the partner countries will possess with at least 20 well trained “diplomats in sport suits” with great skills and knowledge in the field of sport diplomacy (policy dialogue and international relationships, campaign creation, successful communication (verbal & non-verbal), public speaking, media relationships, protocol and etiquette, EU foreign policy and values). The network that project will create (4 countries – 20 people each) will focus on supporting and developing EU integration of the Western Balkans in the field of sport and will be quality provider of EU values in their local environment. For the delivery of the modules will be recruited the best EU experts in each field and non-formal educational methods are going to be used.

Project involves 4 partner countries – Bulgarian sports development association – academy coordinator and initiator, Rijeka sport association, Croatia, the Italian sport organization “L’ORMA” and BRAVO – Bosnian Youth and sport NGO). Partners have been working together for several years already, implementing different scale of projects and cooperating in different frameworks in the field of sport, education and youth policy.

Project will include also the following concrete results:

• 80 “diplomats in sport suits” / 20 per country / focused on delivering EU integration in the countries of Western Balkans area through sport;

• National, regional and local dissemination events (involving at least 400 people) – multiplying effect from the acquired skills and knowledge;

•Platform for WB sport development – practical tool for resources and EU sport values with accent on Sport diplomacy and the good governance in sport.

Learning mobility will be planned as an investment in human capital and a contribution to the capacity building of various sport organizations with clear focus on building a network of well-trained sport diplomats

• Module 1 (Bulgaria): Sport diplomacy, EU foreign policy, EU values, Policy dialogue and international relationships;

• Module 2 (Bosnia and Herzegovina): Summary and feedback of Module 1, local practice reports, Good governance in sport;

• Module 3 (Croatia): Summary and feedback of Module 2, local practice reports, Campaign creation, Successful communication (verbal & non verbal), Public speaking, protocol and etiquette.

• Module 4 (Italy): Summary and feedback of Module 3, local practice reports, Working with media, Working with specific target groups, Sport diplomacy for development, How to put on practice the knowledge we got.

#SportDiplomacyAcademy project is co-funded by the European Union and will continue with online module devoted on working with media and sport for development, originally planned to be implemented in Milan, Italy.