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Sports, War and Peace

April 1-3

March 29

Pre-Symposium Awareness Event

  • Daniel Lewis
  • Ali Nuckles
  • Kaylee Kosareff
  • Lauren Layton
  • Patrick Green
  • Lindsey Short
  • Tolu Adekunle

April 1

Borah Symposium Film: “One Goal”

  • Sergi Agusti, filmmaker
  • Dee Malchow
  • Bankie Mansaray

April 2

NGO Panel Presentation: “Fields of Growth International, Right to Play and Soccer Without Borders”

  • Kevin Dugan
  • Laura Thomas
  • Ben Gucciardi

Plenary Address

  • Alexander Wolff, writer Sports Illustrated

April 3

“Sports-and-Play Workshops”

  • Fields of Growth International, Right to Play and Soccer Without Borders

Borah Symposium Keynote

  • Johann Olav Koss, Founder of Right to Play

Symposium Addresses Relationship Between Sports, War and Peace

Looking deeper into the international landscape and the concept of sport, was the University of Idaho 2013 Borah Symposium's focus on Beyond the Battlefield: Sports, War and Peace.

“With the recent summer Olympic Games in London, including performances by former Vandal student-athletes, we felt this theme would particularly resonate with our local campuses and communities, bringing a deeper, more global perspective to the role of sports in contemporary society,” said Lysa Salsbury, coordinator for programs for the University of Idaho Women's Center and co-chair of the Borah committee.

“All of our invited speakers for the 2013 Borah Symposium are ambassadors for the effective use of sports in peace-making and community development in an international context. Their work is both groundbreaking and life-changing.”

The symposium focused on the aggression of sporting games, which sometimes escalates into conflict, the cultural accessibility of sports and their abilities to transform aggression into healthy competition on the field.

“Sports and war share a deep political, social, and cultural connection,” said Salsbury. “Both the sports field and the battlefield are places where national aggression and patriotism is not only legitimized, but encouraged and glorified. Soldiers and athletes alike are representatives of a nation’s status and power. However, sports also can present a successful alternative to war, providing an opportunity for competition without bloodshed, conflict without casualties.”

The symposium opened on Monday, April 1 with the screening of “One Goal,” an inspirational documentary about a soccer team formed by young, African amputees. Though they lost limbs as a result of civil war, their shared passion for sports elevates them to iconic standing. A panel discussion followed the screening.

Panelists included Barcelona-based cultural producer, and documentary filmmaker, Sergi Agusti; Dee Malchow, vice chair of Women of Hope International, a ministry to the disabled women in Sierra Leone; and Alfred “Bankie” Mansaray, a U-Idaho alumnus, a native of Sierra Leone, and employment advocate for Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area Refugee Immigration Services (RIS) Target Assistant Program in Maryland.

“Both sports and war strive to win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others who are trying to do the same. Are sports thus only a disciplined and contained form of war? Is sport only war writ small, without violence and mortality? Or do sports through discipline and competition allow for groups and individuals to strive for honor and physical achievement unavailable to the warrior,” said Ellen Kittell, associate professor of history and co-chair of the Borah Committee.

The symposium continued on Tuesday, April 2 with an afternoon panel discussing several international non-governmental organizations.

  • On the panel was representatives from Fields of Growth International, a non-profit that aims to harness the passion of the lacrosse community into positive social impact through global leadership development, service and growing the game; Right to Play, a non-profit that uses sport and play to educate and empower children and youth to overcome the effects of poverty, conflict and disease in disadvantaged communities; and Soccer Without Borders, a non-profit that addresses the lack of safe spaces where young people can play, the lack of opportunity for youth to explore social issues and community challenges, and the lock of social capital and access to potential opportunities for education, employment and personal growth among young people in under-served communities throughout the world.
  • At 7 p.m., Alexandar Wolff presented the Borah Symposium’s Plenary Address, also in Student Union Building Ballroom. Wolff has served on the staff of Sports Illustrated since 1980 and wrote a September 2011 Sports Illustrated cover story called “Sports Saves the World.” In addition to covering basketball at all levels, he has written from the Olympics, soccer’s World Cup, every Grand Slam tennis event and the Tour de France bicycle race. SI assignments have taken him to China, Cuba and Iran. His work deals with sports and culture when it comes to race, ethnicity, gender, drugs, the environment, education, youth development, business, conflict and ethics, as well as cultural themes like style, food and the media.

The symposium wrapped up on Wednesday, April 3 with the Sports-and-Play Workshops during the day and the Borah Symposium Keynote Speech in the evening.

  • Sports-and-Play Workshops provided an opportunity to learn more about the importance of sports and play.
  • The symposium concluded with the Borah Symposium Keynote Speech by Johann Olav Koss, the founder of Right to Play, at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Building Ballroom. Koss is a four-time Olympic Gold Medalist in speed skating and made world headlines when he won three Gold Medals at the 1994 Lillehammer Games in the 1,500-, 5,000- and 10,000-meter events. Over the course of his career, he broke a total of 10 world records, won three World All-round Championships, and won numerous World Cups and National Championships. Johann has dedicated himself to growing Right To Play into an internationally recognized NGO and a leader in Sport for Development, which uses sport and play to enhance the healthy physical and psycho-social development of children and to build stronger communities. Today, Right To Play develops and implements child and community development programs in more than 20 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, working with the United Nations and such other agencies as UNICEF and the World Health Organization.

Borah Symposium

Physical Address:
338 Administration Building

Mailing Address:
Borah Foundation & Symposium
c/o The Martin Institute
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3177
Moscow, ID 83844-3177

Phone: 208-885-6527

Fax: 208-885-9464