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Dubinsky wins scholarship to conduct research at the Olympics in Rio


Yoav Dubinsky, first-year PhD student in sport management, received a $4,000 W. K. McClure Scholarship for the study of world affairs. The funds will support Dubinsky’s research in Rio de Janeiro during this summer’s Olympic Games. The McClure Scholarship provides funding for research “which offers the potential for the development of knowledge relative to significant issues or problems associated with world affairs and the reduction of international conflict, principally through legal, cultural, political, economic, social, and scientific studies.”

Dubinsky’s research will explore the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the context of Olympism and the Olympic Games. Drawing on interviews, on-site observations, and document analysis, data collection will take place in June, July, and August in Israel and Brazil, during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The modern Olympics are arguably one of the major cultural, political, economic, and social events in human affairs. On the one hand, the Olympics have a long history of claiming a role in reducing international conflicts; on the other hand, it can be argued that they are indeed exacerbating cultural, political, and social divisions. One of the key examples for both sides of the argument is how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict plays out in the Olympics. Studying the politics of this conflict in the context of the 2016 Games is truly a unique opportunity. After decades of demands by surviving family members, the Rio Games will be the first time the 11 Israeli victims of the 1972 terrorist attacks during the Munich Olympics will be officially commemorated by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Until recently, the IOC had resisted such efforts, arguing that the Olympics are beyond politics. The commemoration of the 1972 terrorist attack will be particularly precarious given current threats of global terrorism.

Dubinsky’s background uniquely qualifies him to conduct this project. He holds a Master’s degree in Olympic studies from the University of Peloponnese (Greece), a Master’s degree in political communications from Tel Aviv University, and a bachelor’s degree in political science also from Tel Aviv University. As a journalist, he has covered two previous summer Olympic Games and he is accredited to attend the 2016 Olympic Games. The accreditation will provide him with prime access to several critical sites to collect data, including sports venues, media centers, mix-zones, press conferences, and the events surrounding the commemoration of the Munich victims.

Lars Dzikus, associate professor in sport studies, advises Dubinsky in his doctoral program. This is Dzikus’ second consecutive advisee to win a prestigious McClure Scholarship. This month, Alicia Johnson successfully defended her dissertation on women’s soccer in Uganda. For this project, Johnson conducted two-months of field work in the East African country examining how Ugandan women experience football and how those experiences are shaped by colonialism and neocolonialism. Both Johnson’s and Dubinsky’s research would not have been feasible without the support of the McClure Scholarship.