Department for Health Lecturer Darragh McGee took part in the Participation, Inclusion and Social Responsibility in Global Sports conference hosted by the Weatherhead Initiative on Global History, Harvard University.

Supported by Olympiacos FC, the conference aimed to foster meaningful dialogue between academics and key stakeholders in world sport, on the need for more sustainable commitments to social responsibility and inclusion. The speakers explored four themes around race in sports, gender and inclusion, migration and child welfare in sport, and social responsibility in sport.

Darragh was part of the organising committee and the academic theme lead for the panel discussion on migration and child welfare in sport. This panel examined the precarious realities of what it means ‘to migrate’ across a number of sporting codes, asking critical and policy-oriented questions about the welfare risks posed to young sport migrants such as West African footballers on route to Europe, and baseball players recruited from the Dominican Republic by Major League Baseball franchises in North America.

Alongside academics working across the disciplines of sociology, anthropology, political science and economics, industry speakers at the conference included FC Barcelona President Josep Bartomeu, The Guardian journalist David Conn, European governing body UEFA, as well as former professional athletes Lilian Thuram and Christian Karembeu.

Reflecting on the event, Darragh said: “Whether through tackling racial injustice, gender inequality, or the exploitation of youth, the takeaway message of the conference is that more needs to be done not just to safeguard the integrity of sport itself, but to mobilise its resources towards the creation of more socially just futures, both locally and globally.”