As mandated by the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) works to build friendly, peaceful relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through academic, cultural, sports, and professional exchanges, as well as public -private partnerships.

The mission of the ECA is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchange that assist in the development of peaceful relations.



FHI 360 is a nonprofit human development organization dedicated to improving lives in lasting ways. ECA has partnered with FHI 360 Global Connections to deliver impactful programming for our Sports Envoy and Sports Visitor program. Global Connections is a department of FHI 360 that works to develop high-level, innovative international exchange programs for emerging leaders from around the globe and across a wide range of disciplines and sectors; including sports programs. 

The mission of FHI 360 is to improve lives in lasting ways by advancing integrated, locally driven solutions for human development.

Program History

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) Sports Diplomacy Division (formerly SportsUnited) builds on the U.S. Department of State’s long history utilizing sports as a diplomatic tool. ECA renewed its support for sports exchanges in 2002, primarily through grants to U.S.-based non-profit organizations under the International Sports Programming Initiative (ISPI). In 2006, the SportsUnited Division in the Office of Citizen Exchanges kicked-off its programming with a female soccer exchange in celebration of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Sports Envoys, Sports Visitors, and the Global Sports Mentoring Program subsequently complemented ISPI and expanded the U.S. Department of State’s ability to engage non-traditional audiences through the shared global passion for sports.

I learned that even us, if you are passionate on something- like me personally, I’m passionate about sports- I have a dream that one day I can be someone, talking to other people like how Alex (Morgan) is talking to us and inspring the next generation.
— Tanzania Sports Envoy Participant