Entering through the sport’s door? : Kosovo’s sport diplomatic endeavours towards international recognition / Dario Brentin & Loïc Tregoures

Brentin, Dario | Trégourès, Loïc

In December 2014, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) granted full membership to Kosovo. For the young state, which had declared its independence only in 2008, this decision meant that it could take part in the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. This analysis illustrates the significance of Kosovo’s full IOC membership. Arguing that IOC membership can be identified as both the “end” and “beginning” of Kosovo’s diplomatic endeavour towards international recognition, the role of sport within this process is illuminated. It mirrors the strategic value of representative sport for a nation-building process as well as its particular significance for public diplomacy in Kosovo. Kosovar political elites shifted their focus towards sport because “traditional” diplomatic efforts, despite being successful to a certain extent, could not break the seemingly cemented status quo considering its United Nations (UN) status. Inclusion in the “Olympic family” represents more than just a symbolic victory for Kosovar diplomacy. The Kosovar nation-building and -branding process, emblematised through the “soft power” of representative sport, could be increasingly used to create symbolic pressure on states that have not yet recognised Kosovo; its ultimate diplomatic goal remains to enter the UN, even if it has to be through “sport’s door.

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Selection : Zoom Diplomacy Olympic Movement English

Selection : Zoom Diplomacy Olympic Movement French

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