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Soccer: The Sport That Binds the World

Complete video at: Tony Karon, senior editor at, examines the popularity of European soccer in Africa, and the phenomenon of the best African players playing for European club teams. Karon, a South African, calls European soccer "part of our identity in some strange, fetishistic sort of way." ----- In 2010, the World Cup will be hosted on the African continent for the first time. When FIFA, the world soccer governing body, awarded the World Cup to South Africa in May 2004, Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first democratically elected president, exclaimed, "I feel like a 15 year old," echoing the sentiment of millions of Africans. Historically, the continent has been shunned by world football, being viewed mainly as a cheap source of talent for Europe's football leagues. Expectations are therefore high for this tournament, and debates about football and its wider significance have ensued. To mark the event, a panel of journalists, writers, and academics -- who are, most importantly, all fans of the game -- tackles soccer's relation to development, nation building, identity, expression, politics, history, media images, and consumption. Sean Jacobs, assistant professor at the graduate program in International Affairs, leads a panel that includes Time magazine's senior editor Tony Karon; Austin Merrill, author of the Fair Play blog for Vanity Fair; and writers Binyavanga Wainaina and Teju Cole. The discussion features film and video clips. Sponsored by the graduate program in International Affairs. - The New School Tony Karon has been with since 1997, when he joined the website staff as a writer covering international affairs and breaking world news. In early 2000, he was promoted to senior writer and later that year to Senior Editor for world coverage. Besides daily analyses of the top international stories such as the conflict in Iraq, the Middle East crisis and the war on terrorism, he writes an occasional column, titled "Undiplomatic Dispatch."
Length: 04:54


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