Two Unique Graduate Programs, Two Football Teams, and Public Diplomacy Bragging Rights

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By: Mike McLean

This Saturday is the Super Bowl of public diplomacy graduate programs. Two of the only universities in the country to offer graduate programs in public diplomacy will meet on the gridiron. The Syracuse University Orange will take on the University of Southern California Trojans at MetLife Stadium in New York City (technically New Jersey)  for the inaugural “New York’s College Classic.” The game, beginning at 3:30pm EST, is the first time the Trojans will play in the NYC area since 2000, and we welcome our brothers from the West. However, don’t be fooled, the Orange will give the Trojans a run for their money. USC may be the preseason no.1-ranked team in the country and Syracuse may have had some down football years recently, but NYC is our turf and we plan to keep it orange!

The interesting part about sport is that we can channel strong emotions into a game and develop relationships with our opponents at the same time. With an emphasis on sportsmanship, two competitors on the field can become friends off the field.  This is the root of sports diplomacy, and we can see the benefits of it from the Olympics to the World Cup. Countries that normally wouldn’t communicate through traditional diplomatic channels have exposure to one another through these sporting events. These sorts of events build relationships and are sometimes are the first steps to further engagement.

I propose that the USC and Syracuse public diplomacy programs use this weekend’s game as a catalyst to increase engagement. Syracuse public diplomacy will be at the game tweeting with the hashtag #PDsuperbowl and we hope that students and faculty from USC’s Center on Public Diplomacy will join us for some light hearted jesting and intellectual banter. Both of our schools will be in the national spot light this weekend for the game, which is being broadcast both on ABC and ESPN2, let’s try and get some exposure for our PD programs!

Go ‘Cuse!

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