Dr J. Simon Rofe delivers keynote and completes Ride for Freedom in the Basque Country

Dr Rofe has delivered a keynote lecture at the World Congress on Sports Diplomacy as well as completed the Ride for Freedom Basque cycle tour.

Dr J. Simon Rofe has delivered a keynote lecture at the World Congress on Sports Diplomacy in Donostia (San Sebastián) in the Basque Country.

The congress was held on 28-29 June 2023 in person and online within the framework of the Summer Courses of the University of the Basque Country.

The conference considered rights and opportunities in sports diplomacy in the twenty-first century.

Dr Rofe’s presentation explored ‘Sport diplomacy and its role in international relations: the emerging scenario of the 21st century’. 

The summit was co-organised by Gavin Price and Imanol Galdos Irazabal.

As well as delivering his keynote, Dr Rofe also spoke with Professor Laura McAllister, the former captain of the Welsh women’s team and the current deputy chair of the UEFA Women's Football Committee. She is also a professor of Public Policy at Cardiff University's Wales Governance Centre, chair of the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame and co-chair of the Independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales. 

Photograph of Professor Laura McAllister and Dr Rofe.

Professor Laura McAllister (left) and Dr J. Simon Rofe (right)

Also during his trip to the Basque Country, Dr Rofe completed the Ride For Freedom Basque Country Tour.

Dr Rofe completed the tour with Ride For Freedom’s founder and team leader, Gordon Miller.

The route was undertaken over three stages and saw the pair cover a total distance of 512.81km, climbing 8,149m and totalling 21 hours and 38 minutes of cycling. 

Photograph of Dr Rofe mid-cycle.

Dr Rofe cycling during the Ride For Freedom Basque Tour.

Ride For Freedom is a non-profit organisation whose mission is ‘to harness the universal appeal of cycling to raise awareness, educate and forge partnerships to end modern slavery, and to provide remedy to survivors’.

Cycling challenges, like the one completed by Dr Rofe, fundraise in support of Freewheel by Ride For Freedom, a programme ‘that empowers survivors of modern slavery to cycle’.

More information about the organisation and its goals can be found on its LinkedIn and Twitter pages.

Photograph of Gordon Miller and Dr Rofe.

Gordon Miller (left) and Dr Rofe (right)

Finally, before returning to Leeds, Dr Rofe attended the Knowledge Diplomacy Conference at the University of London Institute in Paris on 3-4 July 2023. According to Knowledge Diplomacy Project Lead, Dr Tim Gore, 

The overall aim of the project is to promote and understand the significance of Knowledge Diplomacy in both academic and policy discussions that contribute to tackling pressing global issues.

At the conference, Dr Rofe chaired the opening discussion by Anne Duncan, President and Country Director of the British Council France, and Dr Minh-Hà Pham, Counsellor for Science and Technology at the French Embassy in the United Kingdom.

This discussion asked the fundamental question: what does Knowledge Diplomacy mean?

Dr Rofe also chaired a panel at the conference on ‘Knowledge Diplomacy and Access to Knowledge’. The panellists were Professor Chie Adachi, the Dean for Digital Education at Queen Mary University of London, Dr Nora Schmidt from the Institute for Foreign Affairs Germany, and Stephen Wyber, the Director for Policy and Advocacy at the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. 

Photograph of the panel chaired by Dr Rofe at the Knowledge Diplomacy Conference 2023.

(from left to right) Dr Nora Schmidt (seated), Dr Chie Adachi (standing), Stephen Wyber (seated) and Dr Rofe (seated)