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Athlete Activists Advancing Social and Political Change

In the lead up to the Tokyo Olympic Games, athlete activists are taking action to promote the causes and issues they care about on the global stage.
Munehiko Harada
Megumi Ishikawa
Meghan O'Leary
Matthew Abbott
Event Date

About This Event

The Olympic Games and other major sporting competitions have a long history of social and political athlete activism. Amid unprecedented global challenges and vibrant political movements, this activism has increased despite the International Olympic Committee’s call for political neutrality. Athletes have not only made their voice heard during competitions themselves, but they have also run for office and actively participated in social movements. As the Tokyo Olympic Games draw nearer, a panel of experts examines how athlete activists have advanced social and political change, whether their advocacy impacts policy, and what future challenges they may encounter.

About the Speakers
Professor, Waseda University
Munehiko Harada is a Professor of Sport Management in the Graduate School of Sport Sciences at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan.
Megumi Ishikawa
Japanese Judoka
Megumi Ishikawa is a Japanese Judoka who won the Universiade in Shenzhen (Student World Championships) in 2011, the Judo World Cup in Jeju in 2012, and the Kodokan Cup in 2015. She won a silver medal at the Judo Grand Prix in Ulaanbaatar in 2016.
Olympian athlete
Meghan O'Leary
Meghan O’Leary is a 2016 Olympian, two-time World Championship medalist (2017, 2018), and six-time National Team member with the United States Rowing Team. Meghan is a professional motivational speaker and entrepreneur. She is an advocate for women in sports and equality, serving on the USRowing Board of Directors and as an ambassador for the Women’s Sports Foundation.
Meghan O'Leary
Director, Government and Diplomatic Programs
Headshot for Matt Abbott
Matt Abbott joined the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in 2015 as the director of government and diplomatic programs.
Headshot for Matt Abbott