Craig Foster says the global sports industry, as a highly visible, enterprising and influential social institution is long overdue in delivering its promises to change a world where inequality and basic human dignity is under increasing threat. And he says today’s high profile athletes such as Naomi Osaka, LeBron James and Australia’s own Adam Goodes are demonstrating exemplary leadership in pushing for a new vision of sport which stands publicly against all forms of social injustice.
As the newly appointed Adjunct Professor of Sport and Social Responsibility at Torrens University, the 40th Captain of the Australian Socceroos, multi award-winning broadcaster, author, human rights and social justice activist will share his knowledge, values and experience of human rights and equality with a new generation of students across the University.
In this role, Craig will work with business degree and masters students where he plans to embed social justice and human rights into the curricula, so that each graduate understands the responsibility of sport in addressing human rights and equality, and applies that thinking in their future roles – from global and national sports governing bodies to individual clubs.
“Athletes understand they are in a strong position to advocate for social justice and are living the mantra that sport has long promoted of standing for a better world, so the next generation of sports managers must be prepared to make a seismic adjustment when working with these athletes,” Craig said.
“Young people around the world are creating necessary change and seeking to work with organisations that are aligned in values and sport, like business and other sectors, is being forced to confront the concept of what it really stands for. We want to support and empower them with the choices they make as students and graduates embarking on their careers.”
In his new position in higher education, working with the future leaders of the sector, Craig says, over time, sport is shifting to a new paradigm.
“The concept of sport’s exceptionalism, that it exists outside the society that feeds it, is from a bygone era. Advocacy for social issues within the sector has been driven by athletes, but the industry itself is facing pressure to advocate for the people and communities that underpin it. The power of sport to bring people together is self evident. However, the real social power of sport is shaping global behaviour for the better,” Craig added.
Craig joins Torrens University’s as its relationship with the sport sector grows from strength to strength. His expertise will build on the university’s strong track record of partnering with some of the world’s most well known athletes and brands to deliver educational programs and impact, including its Simon Black Academy, its global partnership with Real Madrid Graduate School, as well local partnerships with GWS Giants, Sydney Roosters, Adelaide Oval, South Australia National Football League, to name a few.
Through the University, Craig is also interested in exploring research into practical models of sport and social justice, while also working with thought leaders on sports’ role in broader society.
Torrens University is a natural partner for Craig. As a certified B Corporation since 2015, it is committed to operating to the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability in order to balance profit and purpose. It has a proven track record of changing lives through education and making a positive, enduring impact in the community. The organisation’s values, which align with Craig’s, was critical to the appointment.
“Today, we are all questioning the purpose in our lives and wanting to do good through our passions, our professions. This distinction between economic activity and personal values has been broken down and smart organisations know they are one and the same. Torrens University’s mission is to be ‘Here for Good’ and I’m keen to explore what this means for all students and the organisation as a whole. Torrens University’s B Corp certification and commitment to Be Good provides exciting opportunities to positively impact our communities through our collective strength. The commitment to a global outlook is also important. Global sport is where maximum impact can be made.” Craig said.
In announcing Craig’s appointment, Torrens University President Linda Brown said: “We’re thrilled that Craig has joined our academic team. We are fortunate to have someone of his calibre working with our sports management students to drive positive change in the sector, which aligns with our values of creating an enduring impact on society.”
Linda added: “Craig’s moral courage, extensive experience in social programs that support minority and marginalised communities and deep passion for human rights and equality will help guide our well-established social responsibility agenda.”
“It’s also why we are also looking forward to joining Craig in his support for the Sydney-based community organisation Addi Road and its efforts to help vulnerable communities struggling as a result of COVID-19. We are extremely pleased that our student-run restaurant William Blue Dining will now be supplying meals to Addi Road for community distribution and look forward to expanding this type of charitable commitment in partnership with Craig.”
About Craig Foster
Following a celebrated football career, including his position as Australia’s 40th Socceroo Captain, Craig became one of the nation’s most respected broadcasters with an 18-year, multi-Logie winning career at SBS Australia. Today, in addition to his new role as Adjunct Professor of Sport and Social Responsibility at Torrens University, Craig sits on the Multicultural Council of Australia and works across a vast range of social programs from Indigenous rights and self-determination, homelessness and domestic violence along with refugee advocacy. He is a Human Rights and Refugee Ambassador for Amnesty Australia, Australia Committee member with Human Rights Watch, and Advisory Council member of the Australian Human Rights Institute, UNSW. His social justice advocacy extends to several high profile, global campaigns, including leadership of the #SaveHakeem campaign to free Bahraini refugee Hakeem al-Araibi from a Thai prison, calling for the resettlement and freedom of over 400 refugees and asylum seekers indefinitely detained by Australia in PNG and Nauru for almost seven years, and the humanitarian response by global sport to the COVID-19 pandemic, which began in Australia and expanded internationally.
Craig holds a Bachelor of Laws, a Master’s Degree in International Sports Management and a Postgraduate Degree in Football Management.