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It's Game Time! Exploring Sports Diplomacy in the US-China Relationship

  • Confucius Institute U.S. Center 1776 Massachusetts Avenue Northwest Suite 400 Washington, DC, 20036 United States (map)

At a time when countries seem to be moving further apart, how can sports bring people together and positively impact diplomatic relations? 

The recent Olympic Games and the 2018 FIFA World Cup have brought to the forefront conversations on the effectiveness of sport as a tool for developing global community. As Sports Diplomacy initiatives continue to grow and evolve, the field has experienced success at various levels of engagement. Within the US-China diplomatic relationship, sports diplomacy is not a new phenomenon. In 1971, members of the US Ping Pong team visited Beijing, an event which marks a crucial moment in the history of US-China diplomatic relations. Almost 50 years later how has sports diplomacy helped develop and change the relationship between the US and China? 

Light refreshments will be served at 6:00 pm. The discussion will begin at 6:30 pm. 


Soolmaz Abooali, Professor of sport, conflict resolution and diplomacy at George Mason University; 12-time US National Champion in Traditional Karate 

Craig Esherick, Associate Director, Center for Sports Management at George Mason University 

Qiao Sun, Director, Global Development at Monumental Sports and Entertainment, Owner and Operator of the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals 


Mark Hyman, Co-director of the film The Great China Baseball Hunt and Professor of Sports Management at George Washington University.