The Diversity of National Teams in International Sports the Focus of Upcoming Georgetown World Cup Lecture at QF

Press release
Published March 21st, 2021 - 06:03 GMT
The Diversity of National Teams in International Sports the Focus of Upcoming Georgetown World Cup Lecture at QF
Gijsbert Oonk.
QF-partner Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) is hosting Gijsbert Oonk, Director of the Sport and Nation Research Program at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

QF-partner Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) is hosting Gijsbert Oonk, Director of the Sport and Nation Research Program at Erasmus University Rotterdam, for a discussion of his research on how major sporting events are redefining modern conceptions of national belonging, citizenship, and migration, on Sunday, March 21, 2021, at 6:00 PM Doha time. 

The lecture, titled “The FIFA World Cup : Football, Citizenship and National Identity 1930 - 2022”, is part of the Building a Legacy: Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022 research initiative at GU-Q’s Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS) exploring the social, political, and economic impact of hosting a major global tournament.

International sporting events have given rise to competition for the world’s best players, resulting in teams that are increasingly diverse, and fans who have a host of national identities to cheer for. In his talk, Dr. Oonk will take high profile examples of migrant athletes from international sports events to unravel the complexities behind the question of who can or can’t represent a nation on the field, and suggest an alternative conception of citizenship beyond the traditional boundaries of geography or heredity.

“If we as historians look at individuals, we become aware that they have many identities and they shift identities and alliances all the time. Their ‘national’ identity is just one of them,” explained Dr. Oonk.

“In 2018 many people at the sub-Sahara continent identified with the French world champions, some of them even argued that ‘Africa’ had won the World Cup and not France. The multi-perspective on national identity, the colonial past, and migration has been seriously underexposed in the domain of history. The study of global sports is a good way to start and debate these issues with students, academics from various disciplines, and politicians,” he added.

Visiting Associate Professor Dr. Danyel Reiche, who is leading the CIRS research initiative, said: “At CIRS, we are using the unique position of GU-Q in a World Cup-hosting country to bring together renowned scholars who study the intersection of sport and society. Dr. Oonk's decisive work on migrant athletes and the shifting boundaries of modern-day citizenship is an important contribution to that effort. The inclusive approach of the Qatari men’s football team is an interesting case to study in the realm of sport, citizenship and national belonging.”

Registration for the public webinar is available at

Dr. Gijsbert Oonk holds the endowed Jean Monnet chair on Europe in Globalizing World: Migration, Citizenship and Identity. The Sport and Nation research program at Erasmus University Rotterdam focuses on talented athletes with a migrant background within football and the Olympic Games in the context of changing citizenship, multiple citizenship, and elite migration.

Background Information

Georgetown University in Qatar

Established in 1789 in Washington, DC, Georgetown University is one of the world’s leading academic and research institutions. Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q), founded in 2005 in partnership with Qatar Foundation, seeks to build upon the world-class reputation of the university through education, research, and service. Inspired by the university’s mission of promoting intellectual, ethical, and spiritual understanding, GU-Q aims to advance knowledge and provide students and the community with a holistic educational experience that produces global citizens committed to the service of humankind.

Located in Doha’s Education City, GU-Q offers the same internationally recognized Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service degree as Georgetown’s Capitol Campus in Washington, DC. This unique, interdisciplinary program prepares students to tackle the most important and pressing global issues by helping them develop critical thinking, analytic, and communication skills within an international context. GU-Q alumni work in leading local and international organizations across industries ranging from finance to energy, education, and media. The Qatar campus also serves as a residency and delivery location for the Executive Master’s in Emergency and Disaster Management along with the Executive Master’s in Leadership.

Qatar Foundation

Qatar Foundation (QF) is a non-profit organization made up of more than 50 entities working in education, research, and community development.

Our unique ecosystem—supported by partnerships with leading international institutions—is built on initiatives that address our most pressing challenges, create global opportunities, and empower people to shape our present and future.

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