In the midst of the NCAA’s March Madness, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announced today an international sports exchange that will bring 18 teenage girl athletes and six female coaches from all corners of the globe to Washington, D.C. and Denver, Colorado March 25 – April 7 as part of its Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports Initiative.
The exchange, in partnership with the NCAA, USA Basketball, and the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), will enable the young athletes and coaches from Kazakhstan, Nicaragua, Thailand, Tunisia, Ukraine, and Zimbabwe to participate in a variety of activities including: basketball clinics with their American counterparts, teambuilding exercises, workshops on Title IX and nutrition, and community events associated with the NCAA’s Women’s Final Four Championship.
Part of the Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports Initiative, this exchange builds on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s vision of “smart power,” which embraces the full range of diplomatic tools – in this case the game of basketball – to bring people together to foster greater understanding.
Under this new initiative, the Department is mobilizing all of its international sports programming, from Sports Envoys traveling overseas to Sports Visitors traveling to the United States, to increase the number of women and girls worldwide who are involved in sports. A cornerstone of this initiative is the creation of a new sports mentorship program that will connect women and girls from across the globe with their American counterparts. Click here to learn more.
Through the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ SportsUnited Division, the U.S. Department of State conducts sports exchange programs to engage youth worldwide. Sports Visitors are youth and coaches who travel to the United States for an exchange. Sports Visitor programs give young people an opportunity to discover how success in athletics can be translated into the development of life skills and achievement in the classroom. Since 2003, SportsUnited has brought more than 900 young athletes from more than 50 countries to the United States to participate in Sports Visitor programs.