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How Do Governmental Institutions Use Sports to Further Their Visions of Civic Life and Community Identity


The common perception is that youngsters are potent agents of cultural change because they are so full of ideas and optimism for the future. It is best described by the United Nations Population Fund, which looks to young people as the future cultural shapers. Adolescents undergo profound personal development during which they emerge as unique, self-reliant persons. The stories and wisdom of the elderly are not passed on to the younger generations. They come up with their methods of seeing the world, understanding it, categorizing it, and differentiating it, as well as their vocabulary, symbolism, and patterns to communicate these ideas. Cultures and communities may adapt to new difficulties with the support of young people’s answers to the world and their methods of understanding and conveying experience. Their energy and initiative may help alter harmful cultural norms that have been taken for granted by previous generations. We decided to base Compass on sports since people of many backgrounds and traditions share them. Sixty-two percent of EU22 residents aged 15 to 24 engage in regular physical activity, making sport a popular pastime among this demographic. Another justification for integrating sports is that they allow young people to meet new people and form relationships, which are crucial to their maturation into responsible, contributing adults. Human rights in culture and sport are interconnected and have many similarities with other protected freedoms. Moreover, they are also why people’s rights, especially young people, are often violated and contested.


The “father” of the contemporary Olympic Games, Pierre de Coubertin, presumed that sports competitions in general and global ones specifically were essential tools for the advancement of human rights: sporting events should serve the explicit purpose of enhancing social peace, intercultural cooperation in a spirit of collaboration respect among people of different historical roots, philosophies, and different faiths (Doidge et al., 2020). There is no reference to sports in any human rights accords or declarations. Nevertheless, the Olympic Charter established by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) declares that participation in sports is a fundamental human right. Everyone should have equal access to athletic opportunities, free from bias and in the true Olympic spirit. As a means of building community and instilling values essential to democratic citizenship, sports may be a powerful force in advancing human rights (Jennings et al., 2019). Sport’s unifying effect on people and groups enriches society as a whole. Sports can unite people and help them transcend their differences by sparking conversation and opening doors to new perspectives.

Sports can serve as an entry point when trying to reach out to underrepresented populations. Kids’ workers in many urban areas utilize street football to connect with marginalized youth (Jennings et al., 2019). Teams competing in the Homeless World Cup are comprised solely of persons experiencing homelessness worldwide. Starting in 2003, this yearly gathering has become a tradition. According to the organization’s website, 72% of players gave up drugs and alcohol, found employment, moved into houses, began training, attended school, repaired relationships, and continued playing football due to the 2007 Homeless World Cup in Copenhagen (Mandryszet al.,2020). Athletes are sometimes held in high regard because of their prominence, their successes, and even their struggles along the way. They are heroes to many young people because of their commitment to promoting equality and human rights (Li et al., 2022). For instance, Lilian Thuram, the French national football team’s all-time leader in appearances, is an advocate for youth and a vocal opponent of prejudice. Former player Eric Cantona is also relatively well-known. Born into extreme poverty, he has risen to fame as an actor and advocate for the city’s homeless population. To raise awareness of its work and spread its message, the United Nations often recruits well-known figures from entertainment, media, literature, and sports (Wray‐Lake &Abrams, 2020). Goodwill Ambassadors for UNICEF include footballer Leo Messi, tennis player Maria Sharapova, and singer Céline Dion, an Artist for Peace with UNESCO.

Sport has a long history as a nonviolent protest against oppression. Many nations severed ties with South Africa in the sports arena during the apartheid period, which helped push for political reform (Li et al., 2022). Since the countries of former Yugoslavia were at war, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was substituted by Denmark for the 1992 UEFA European Football Championship (Jennings et al., 2019). However, politics and nationalism may easily hijack sporting events. For example, eight Palestinian terrorists stormed the Israeli team facilities during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich and kidnapped eleven people. After a botched rescue effort by German police, two athletes were slain in the ensuing fighting. Nine captives were also killed (Jennings et al., 2019). Particularly from ancient times, governments have utilized the Olympic Games as a stage to make political comments. Example: in 1980, the United States and 65 other countries skipped the Olympics in Moscow in response to the Soviet assault on Afghanistan. In 1984, the Soviet Union and fifteen of its allied forces decided to skip the Olympic Games in Los Angeles out of concern for their safety and the availability of political refuge (Wray‐Lake &Abrams, 2020). Critics of China’s lack of human rights and democracy violations have lately questioned the decision to hold the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.


We tend to make broad statements about a country’s culture without considering its diversity. Similarly, generalizing young culture as a monolithic phenomenon is erroneous. Because of the rapid social and economic shifts in Europe following WWII, a wide variety of adolescent subcultures have emerged. Individually and collectively, today’s youth will refresh the culture in which they are raised and make it their own, whether they embrace it ultimately or not. Cultural opportunities and involvement may serve as a unifying force and a springboard to civic engagement. Young people should be able to “access culture” in a variety of ways, including as viewers (at bookstores, galleries, concerts, or football games), creators (through video and music films), performers (through dance and sports, etc.), and actively participating (via these activities).


Doidge, M., Keech, M., & Sandri, E. (2020). ‘Active integration’: sports clubs taking an active role in integrating refugees. International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, 12(2), 305–319.

Jennings, G., Cullen, J., Bryant, J., Bryant‐Greenwell, K., Mann, S., Hove, C., & Zepeda, N. (2019). The empathetic museum: A new institutional identity. Curator: The Museum Journal, 62(4), 505–526.

Li, X., & Feng, J. (2022). Nation branding through the lens of soccer: Using a sports nation branding framework to explore the case of China. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 25(4), 1118-1138.

Mandrysz, W. (2020). Community-based social economy–social capital and civic participation in social entrepreneurship and community development. Management Dynamics in the Knowledge Economy, 8(1), 81–93.

Wray‐Lake, L., & Abrams, L. S. (2020). Pathways to civic engagement among the urban youth of color. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 85(2), 7–154.


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