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Michele Acuto

Michele Acuto is currently Research Director and Senior Lecturer in Global Networks & Diplomacy at STEaPP. Michele is also Fellow of the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society (InSIS) at the University of Oxford. He was previously Fellow of the Center on Public Diplomacy in the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California, and a Fellow of the Programme for the Future of Cities at the University of Oxford. He taught science and technology studies (STS) in the Faculty of Business and Government at the University of Canberra and international relations at the Australian National University. He held visiting positions at the National University of Singapore and the Institute of European Affairs in Dublin, served as JPO for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and worked for several years as consultant on the Kimberley Process for conflict diamonds. Michele holds a BA (Diplomacy) from the University of Genoa, a specialisation in peace and conflict studies from the Peace Research Institute in Oslo (PRIO), and a Master of International Affairs, a Master of Diplomacy and a PhD (Regulation, Justice and Diplomacy) from the Australia National University. Michele is currently principal investigator for the ESRC project Urban Connections and the City Leadership Studio initiative, which aim at engaging urban practitioners and at assessing the role of city leadership and city strategies in responding to global challenges. Michele’s research also focuses on the role of STS thinking in international relations and on the changing landscapes of diplomacy. Michele is the author of The Urban Link, editor of Negotiating Relief (Hurst), co-editor of Global City Challenges (with Wendy Steele) and Reassembling International Theory (with Simon Curtis) and of the series Cities and the Global Politics of the Environment (with Sofie Bouteligier) all for Palgrave Macmillan.

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Author Archive | Michele Acuto

The Olympics go Downtown for Tokyo 2020

Christopher Jue/EPA
Christopher Jue/EPA

Christopher Jue/EPA

It is Tokyo, after all. It was nearly 6am when a few thousand supporters gathered at Komazawa stadium, one of the key venues for Tokyo’s 1964 games, exploded in celebration as International Olympic Committee Jacques Rogge held up the winning envelope marked “Tokyo 2020.” With Madrid ousted at the first round, the Tokyo-Istanbul competition boosted the hopes of the Japanese bidders that eventually took the final vote by a large margin: 60 to 36. Tokyo had been seen as the favorite in the race for a while. As the situation in Istanbul and neighboring Syria deteriorated, the Japanese case surged in confidence despite the concerns over the Fukushima disaster.

The media response, as well as most of the official questioning at the IOC, was focused on the challenges brought about by these security concerns. News reports on the Olympic bids echoed with the government’s crackdown on protesters in the streets of Istanbul, the stalling Syrian crisis in the Middle East, the growing concern about radioactive waters and health safety caused by the never-ending Japanese saga with the nuclear power plant. These themes will no doubt remain part of the “Tokyo 2020” reports for the weeks to come. Yet it might, amid all of the discussion, be worth taking a quick step into what the games mean for the city and for the world of spectators and visitors that will be engaging with the Japanese capital.

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