The contribution of sport within the process of peace and reconciliation


The contribution of sport within the process of peace and reconciliation

Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies

Reconciliation is about bringing people together, re-building relationships and create the necessary dialogue to generate empathy to getting understanding the roots of conflict. Reconciliation is also about healing, truth and justice, is about forgiveness and about looking en route for a shared and peaceful future.

In this dissertation is shown how sport can play an important role in the complex and long process of peace and reconciliation analyzing the necessary conditions to make it happen.

Galtung’s “3R’s” conflict transformation theory of Resolution, Reconciliation and Reconstruction, gives a just theoretical framework to analyze where and how sport can be fit in the process of peace and reconciliation, empathizing the idea on how synergy is important to achieve a lasting peace. Building positive social networks through relationships is central to many of the processes underpinning each of the “3Rs”.

An holistic approach must be used also in sport for peace programs. Sport alone can not reach any reconciliation, on the contrary the nature of sport is exactly the opposite if seen as win at all costs. Sport programs, to be effectives for reconciliation, should be part of a wider and comprehensive peace building strategies, focusing the attention on the process of implementation. In that case Sport can be a low entry and high impact point for a social change.

The case study analyzes different typologies of sport interventions undertaken in the Rift Valley, Kenya, since the post election violence early last year expanding on personal experience in psychosocial support project with IOM (International Organization of migration). A small-scale survey has been done to analyze the impact of a sport league as well as sport activities implemented in Child Friendly Spaces.


Article type



Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies




Serena Borsani


Saturday, January 31, 2009 - 23:00