Eastern Europe and Russia Latin America Previous Events Society Society, Culture, and Security

April 16th Roundtable – World Sport and International Relations

On Wednesday, April 16th, the NATO Council of Canada will host a Toronto Roundtable on World Sport and International Relations.

With Sochi 2014 and its controversies coming to an end and the world looks forward to FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil, it is worth considering the impact of global competitions such as these on international relations – politically, economically, and culturally. The Olympic Games and the World Cup are meant to foster sportsmanship, tolerance, and cooperation between countries, but do they fulfill this purpose? Or do they increase cross-country divides?

Key Questions:

  • “#SochiProblems” – did it intensify the cultural/political divide between the West and Russia?
  • How did Brazil’s preparation for the FIFA World Cup impact its relations with its neighbors? How did FIFA 2014 spark controversy at home?
  • How did Brazil’s preparation for the FIFA World Cup impact its international economic and trade relations?
  • Will the West decide to boycott FIFA 2018 in Russia due to the crisis in Ukraine?
  • What is the role of international sports competitions in generating nationalism, as opposed to tolerance and cooperation that transcend cultural divides?
  • What is the role of the media when covering international sports events?



Eric Morse (Moderator)



Eric Morse is currently the Co-Chair of the Security Studies Committee and Director of Communications at Royal Canadian Military Institute. Previously, Mr. Morse served as Deputy Director of the International Sports Relations at the Department of External Affairs in Canada for 12 years. Mr. Morse monitored and advised Cabinet on political developments in the Olympic world that impacted Canadian foreign relations during Cold War, including the 1980 Olympics, which was boycotted by the US and 64 other countries.



Dr. Bruce Kidd 

bruce kid


Dr. Bruce Kidd is a former Olympian, author, and academic. He has won 18 national senior championships in Canada, the US, and Britain. He won gold and bronze medals at the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games and represented Canada at the 1964 Summer Olympics. Currently, Dr. Kidd the Warden of Hart House and a professor at University of Toronto’s Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education. Dr. Kidd received his Bachelor of Arts from University of Toronto, a Master of Arts from the University of Chicago, another Master of Arts in History in 1980 from York Univerity, and went on to complete his Ph.D. in History in 1990.



Dr. Tamir Bar-On



Dr. Bar-On is a professor in the Department of International Relations and Humanities at the Tecnológico de Monterrey, Campus Querétaro in Mexico. He received his BA and MA from York University in Toronto and PhD from McGill University in Montreal. He has previously taught political science at George Brown College, Wilfrid Laurier University, and University of Windsor. His newest book is called The World Through Soccer: The Cultural Impact of a Global Sport.


Mary Sanders

Mary Saunders


Mary Sanders is a former Olympic gymnast and currently works with Cirque Du Soleil. In the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Mary represented the USA in Rhythmic Gymnastics. In addition, Mary went on to become a Pan American and Four Continents Champion, 2-Time Athlete of the Year, USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame Inductee and earned the title as the most successful rhythmic gymnast in all of the western hemisphere. Since retiring from sport, Mary has been an Athlete Representative and is now an International Brevet Judge for USA Gymnastics.



WHEN: Wednesday, April 16th, 6.30pm – 8.30pm

VENUE: 165 University, Downtown Toronto, 4th Floor.


Members $20.

Non-members $25.

Student members for FREE.

Students can enter for $10.

Register via PayPal:


If you do not want to purchase tickets online please feel free to call us at 416 979-1875,

Or email us for more information at rsvp@atlantic-council.ca and include ‘World Sport & IR’ in Subject)

NATO Association of Canada
The NATO Association of Canada (NAOC) strives to educate and engage Canadians about NATO and its goals of peace, prosperity and security. The NAOC ensures Canada has an informed citizenry able to participate in discussions about its role on the world stage.