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Africa symposium to dispel myth of euro centrism in world sports

Ohio University's seventh annual Sports in Africa Symposium, with the theme of "From Marginalization to Global Citizenship:  Africa's First World Cup in Historical Perspective," will be held Friday, March 11.

The conference will discuss the increasing presence of the Global South, Africa, Asia and South America on the world stage. With the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, and the upcoming World Cup and Olympics respectively, in 2014 and 2016 in Brazil, and the choice of Qatar to host 2022 FIFA World Cup, demonstrates the change in the geopolitics of world sports.
"It's important to discuss this topic to understand the changing nature of the world," said Gerard Akindes, coordinator of the symposium. "It diminishes the Eurocentric notion that world sports can only be hosted by western nations."

Peter Alegi, an associate professor of history at Michigan State University and a Fulbright scholar to South Africa, will give the conference's keynote address. He authored the book, "African Soccerscapes: How a Continent Changed the World's Game", which was published by the Ohio University Press just before the 2010 World Cup. The book has received international media attention from outlets such as Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, USA Today, Time Magazine, BBC Radio and NPR.

"We're going to be discussing the political and social aspects associated with the sport," Akindes said. "Students will be able to witness the global sport through a local lens."

The symposium is sponsored by the College of Health Sciences and Professions, the African Studies Program, the Office of Multicultural Programs, the Center for Sports Administration, the College of Business and the Ohio University Press. 

Here are some upcoming events on Friday, March 11: 

Friday, March 11

•    The Center for Sports Administration will host a panel on Asia at 1 p.m. in Walter Hall 135 with panelists Ming Li, department chair in the Department of Sports Administration, and Michael Pfahl, assistant professor of Sports Administration.

•    A discussion on South America and the Caribbean will be held at 2 p.m. in Walter Hall 135 with panelists Rafael Obregon, director of the Communication and Development Studies program and David Carr, associate professor of Recreation and Sport Pedagogy.

•    Peter Alegi, an associate professor of history at Michigan State University, will speak at 3 p.m. in Walter Hall 135. His lecture will reflect upon the ways in which the 2010 World Cup fits into a long history of Africa's contributions to the globalization of soccer and the intertwined nature of soccer, politics, business, and culture in 21st century Africa.

•    There will be a poster session titled, "United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Toolkit Project" at 4:30 p.m. in the Grover Center Atrium. The presentation will be given b students from the Department of Sports and Development.

•    Sheri Huckleberry, instructor in Recreation and Sport Pedagogy, will present the movie "Pelada" at 5:30 p.m. in Grover Center, Room W115. The film documents the life of two soccer players as they travel to 25 countries for the game.

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