Economics at your fingertips  

U.S. public diplomacy and sports stars: mobilizing African-American athletes as goodwill ambassadors from the cold war to an uncertain future

Andrew F. Cooper ()
Additional contact information
Andrew F. Cooper: University of Waterloo

Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, 2019, vol. 15, issue 3, 165-172

Abstract: Abstract The United States has diverse options in the projection of public diplomacy ranging across the spectrum from risk-averse to risk-oriented strategies. A significant test highlights the use of the deep pool of the U.S. star athletes generally and African-American athletes more specifically. During the Cold War era, a conformist style was privileged in the U.S. State Department goodwill ‘ambassador’ program. Yet, paralleling the overall trajectory of celebrity diplomats, significant gaps can be located in this risk-averse culture. With this unevenness in mind, the article look back to see what lessons or parallels can be taken from earlier initiatives. At a moment marked by the populism of the Trump administration and the environment of intensified racial polarization, it is unlikely that any new connection between African-American athletes and a new public diplomacy strategy will fit into a recalibrated conformist model. Even if it is a sharper break from past experiences, however, the constant is that this category of individuals—especially the high-profile African-American sports stars—remains a huge asset if the U.S. State Department has the desire and ability to tap into this talent pool under different political conditions in the future.

Keywords: U.S. public diplomacy; African-American athletes; Goodwill ambassadors; Cold war; Trump administration (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) Abstract (text/html)
Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted.

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from

Access Statistics for this article

Place Branding and Public Diplomacy is currently edited by Robert Govers and James Pamment

More articles in Place Branding and Public Diplomacy from Palgrave Macmillan
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Sonal Shukla ().

Page updated 2020-01-08
Handle: RePEc:pal:pbapdi:v:15:y:2019:i:3:d:10.1057_s41254-018-00114-2