PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to fill the gap in the research literature on how sport can be used more productively as a peacebuilding device in post-conflict countries.Design/methodology/approachThis paper uses interviewing method that includes both semi-structured and unstructured interviews with trainers, instructors and children involved in implementing Open Fun Football Schools (OFFSs) in Kosovo.FindingsFindings show that OFFSs have played a vital role in peacebuilding in Kosovo by bringing together people from different ethnic backgrounds in Kosovo, which contributed to social inclusion of Albanians and Serbs, and other communities by changing their initial attitudes toward one another.Research limitations/implicationsThe main research limitation is the usage of semi-structured and unstructured questionnaires instead of structured questionnaires, which would provide more generalized conclusions about the OFFSs. More research is needed on this topic to investigate the effect of similar programs in other country contexts.Practical implicationsThe most important practical implication of the research is that conflict mitigation through football sports programs and activities can be used in other similar contexts by donors and the international community. OFFSs offer a hope for peacebuilding, and if adequately implemented can contribute to peacebuilding in post-conflict societies similar to Kosovo’s context. The positive attitude changes as a result of participation in the OFFS programs shows that these joint programs can promote better ethnic relations. There is a need for the expansion of such programs to reach more people.Originality/valueThe study provides an original contribution as there has been almost no prior research which actually measured the effects of OFFSs on change of youth attitudes through the integrated sport programs with different ethnicity in Kosovo.
Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 27, 2019
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