About

The Sports Envoy program recruits passionate, articulate, community-oriented professional athletes, to connect with communities in every corner of the world, using sports as the platform, to build connections and to bridge cultural divides.

State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA)

As mandated by the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, commonly known as the Fulbright-Hays Act, 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 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 exchanges that assist in the development of peaceful relations.

The Sports Envoy Program is an initiative of ECA and administered by FHI 360.

Family Health International (FHI 360)

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 programs. 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.

  • Sports Diplomacy

    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).

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  • Implementation

    The Sports Diplomacy Division at the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs partners with US Embassies and Consulates to identify relevant sports in their local country, along with key foreign policy objectives that can be advanced through the use of sports diplomacy.

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  • Policy Priorities

    While each Sports Envoy exchange includes customized sessions that meet foreign policy goals and U.S. embassy and consulate priorities, many programs align with certain thematic areas.

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  • Reach & Impact

    The Sports Diplomacy Division works in all regions of the world on people-to-people sports exchanges. Since 2007, more than 300 Sports Envoys, representing two dozen different sports, have traveled on behalf of the United States to deliver high-impact programming and improve diplomatic relations.

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