Chair in Sport, Physical Activity and Education for Development

Loughborough University – Professor Richard Giulianotti

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Sport, physical activity and education are being used increasingly by diverse agencies to promote sustainable development, for example in relation to health, peace-building, social inclusion, and environmental protection.

Through the UNESCO Chair in Sport, Physical Activity and Education for Development, the team at Loughborough University are committed to advancing knowledge, policy and practice, on how sport, physical activity and education can be used successfully for development purposes.

Chair Themes


Physical Activity

Physical Education



“Global development requires innovative approaches that are fully able to engage young people who live in diverse societies. Sport, physical activity and education are being used in creative ways by diverse agencies to provide these developmental routes for young people. Through our Chair, we’re committed to supporting and shaping this vital international field of activity through our research, teaching, partnerships with different organizations, and collaborations with fellow researchers and students.”

Professor Richard Giulianotti


Led by Professor Richard Giulianotti, the Chair team are generating a variety of projects to advance knowledge and understanding, and to influence policy and practice, in how sport, physical activity and education may be used most effectively for development purposes. This work is especially important for development activity with young people, marginalized social groups (such as ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, refugees, and women and girls), and communities in the global South.

Chair team members work with a diverse set of key stakeholders, including UNESCO and other key policymakers, young people, local communities, NGOs, sport clubs and federations, corporations and small businesses, and fellow academics and students.

The Chair’s specific aims include:

  • Working to build capacity and impact, and to provide advice and guidance, across these stakeholders
  • Undertaking research, and disseminating this work across different audiences
  • Delivering teaching and training at Loughborough University and elsewhere
  • Building networks and partnerships, including strengthening the links and collaborations of UNESCO Chairs in sport and other relevant fields


Loughborough University is widely recognised as the world-leading university for sport and sport-related subjects. The university has an exceptional critical mass of academics and students with expertise in the Chair’s fields. These include:

  • ‘Sport for development and peace’ (SDP), which uses sport for wider development outcomes with young people
  • Physical education, and the personal and social development of young people
  • Physical activity and health for diverse population groups
  • ‘Safe sport’, particularly through safeguarding protocols and strategies
  • Social inclusion in sport, physical activity and education (e.g. for girls and women, people with disabilities, ethnic minorities, gender diverse groups)
  • Positive youth development (PYD) in competitive and recreational sport and exercise
  • The effective development, management, and governance of sport, physical education, and physical activity in diverse contexts
  • Climate education and action through sport, physical activity and education
  • Integrity and ethical issues in sport, physical activity and education
  • Policy development in sport, physical activity and education
  • Strengthening stakeholder networks and partnerships to improve planning, organisation, delivery, and the social impacts of programmes
More about the UNESCO Chair in Sport, Physical Activity and Education for Development

Professor Richard Giulianotti

Richard Giulianotti is Professor of Sociology in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University, UK.  He has been visiting or guest professor at many institutions, including Harvard University, International Olympic Academy, Johan Cruyff Institute, Seoul National University, University of California (Berkeley), University of South-Eastern Norway, Texas A & M University, and University of Warsaw.

Professor Giulianotti’s research and teaching specialisms are in sport, development, peace, globalisation, mega-events, migration, and youth. He has undertaken research across Europe, South Asia, South and North America, Africa, and the Middle East. This research has led to the delivery of diverse policy and practice reports to a host of policymakers, NGOs, and other stakeholders in the field of sport development.

Alongside the permanent UK Delegation to UNESCO, he represents the UK in its role as Vice-Chair of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for Physical Education and Sport (CIGEPS).

Selected Publications and Reports