Sports Diplomacy Will Continue in the Age of Trump…And Beyond

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Faulkner, Board President and co-founder of nonprofit O Street Int’l, conducting Sports & Nutrition diplomacy program in UAE, 2016

In my recent article, Why President Trump’s State Department Budget Cuts Are Inspiring, I outline my position on the need for Diplomacy and why it matters. In fact, I argue that diplomacy is so vital, especially exchanges such as sports diplomacy, that it should and will continue to play a fundamental role in the State Department’s mission. Budget cuts should serve as a call to action for individuals, such as myself, who are passionate about promoting diplomacy.

Some have attested to the effectiveness of sports diplomacy, yet claim it is being undermined by budget cuts, such as the position taken in the article, Sports Diplomacy in the Age of Trump. From personal experience, I undoubtedly agree that sports diplomacy is vital. Post 9/11, I stood firmly at the forefront of its use, traveling to over 40 majority Muslim nations promoting dialogue via the universal language of sports, in my case basketball.  Sports diplomacy was at its best. Since those transforming experiences, I have created innovative improvements to Sport Diplomacy programs to include wider audience participation. Each program was widely successful, each with a much smaller budget.

My article reminds us that important work doesn’t stop because the government reduces its funding- the fact that it is important work provides the impetus needed to continue, despite the level of funding. I love State Department programs and the hard working men and women who support, manage, and promote the work of our Sports United bureau. But Diplomacy is about People, to which I believe the author of Sports Diplomacy in the Age of Trump would agree.

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