- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating is associate editor at Foreign Policy and the editor of the Passport blog. He has worked as a researcher, editorial assistant, and deputy Web editor since joining the FP staff in 2007. In addition to being featured in Foreign Policy, his writing has been published by the Washington Post, Newsweek International, Radio Prague, the Center for Defense Information, and Romania's Adevarul newspaper. He has appeared as a commentator on CNN International, C-Span, ABC News, Al Jazeera, NPR, BBC radio, and others. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he studied comparative politics at Oberlin College.
I missed this last month, but apparently Europe is getting its own continent-level Olympic-style tournament, and the first event will be held in 2015 in … Baku:
"We are the only continent without senior Games. We do not have an event like the Asian Games or the Pan American or African Games," said [European Olympic Committee President Patrick] Hickey, who also heads the Irish Olympic Committee.
The first edition of the four-yearly event will be staged by cash-rich Baku which had unsuccessfully bid for the summer Olympics of 2016 and 2020.
"Baku and Azerbaijan are not strapped like the rest of Europe. We wanted to get this off the ground and this event will be at no expense to the national Olympic committees," said Hickey.
It’s understandable that energy-rich Azerbaijan would be more enthusiastic about building stadiums than crisis-ridden Western European governments, but it’s unfortunate that the first Olympic-style athletic event for an overwhelmingly democratic region is being held in one of its very few authoritarian countries. (In a related story, an Eastern European think tank just named President Ilham Aliyev "corruption’s man of the year.")
Aliyev will surely look to exploit the games as a PR opportunity, as he did with last year’s controversial Eurovision Song Contest, though as Eurasianet reports, opposition groups are also looking to take advantage of the international attention.
The bigger problem for the organizers may be that not all the major sports federations have signed on to the event yet — athletics, swimming, and basketball. It’s hard to imagine an Olympics-style event without running, swimming, and hoops, but maybe they’ll have the kinks worked out by Minsk 2019.
International mega-sporting events like the Olympics have become the playthings of authoritarian regimesSuzanne NosselSuzanne Nossel is executive director of the Pen American Center and a former deputy assistant secretary of state for international organizations at the U.S. State Department. | Voice |
Blake Hounshell is managing editor at Foreign Policy, having formerly been Web editor. Hounshell oversees ForeignPolicy.com and has commissioned and edited numerous cover stories for the print magazine, including National Magazine Award finalist "Why Do They Hate Us?" by Mona Eltahawy. He also edits The Cable, FP's first foray into daily original reporting, and was editor of Colum Lynch's Turtle Bay, which in 2011 won a National Magazine award for best reporting in a digital format.
Blake joined Foreign Policy in 2006 after living in Cairo, where he studied Arabic, missed his Steelers finally win one for the thumb, and worked for the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies. Blake was a 2011 finalist for the Livingston Awards prize for young journalists for his reporting on the Arab uprisings, and his Twitter feed was named one of Time magazine's "140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011." Under his leadership, in 2008, Passport, FP's flagship blog, won Media Industry Newsletter's "Best of the Web" award in the blog category. Along with Elizabeth Dickinson, he edited Southern Tiger: Chile's Fight for a Democratic and Prosperous Future, the memoirs of former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012.
A graduate of Yale University, Blake speaks mangled Arabic and French, is an avid runner, and lives in Washington with his wife, musician Sandy Choi, and their toddler, David. Follow him on Twitter @blakehounshell.| Passport |