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Past Event

Lessons from the 2019 Asian Cup: Sports, Globalization, and Politics in the Arab World

Sports, nationalism, and politics have historically been intertwined in the Arab world. As such, it was no surprise that the Gulf crisis of 2017 loomed large over the 17th edition of the Asian Cup in 2019. The media coverage and the public reaction to Qatar’s historic win extended well beyond the sports arena across the GCC and the wider region, providing a unique opportunity to gauge national sentiment and regional politics in the Arab world today.

The discussion reflected on the state of regional politics in the Arab world, as seen through the prism of traditional and social media coverage of the 2019 Asian Cup. The discussion will focus on the role of sports as an important vehicle for nation-building, international integration, and global influence. It also discussed the role that mega-sporting events, including the 2022 World Cup, can play in promoting national pride and regional integration.


The discussion addressed the following questions: How important are sports in shaping national identity and promoting international integration? How did Qatar’s win of the 2019 Asian Cup affect public sentiment and politics in the Arab world?




James M. Dorsey

Senior Fellow - S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University

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