Program Highlights

Check out the highlights from our most recent Sports Visitor and Sports Envoy programs from around the world.

 

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Golan Volunteers in Kenya with Sports Envoy Program

University of Minnesota women's soccer head coach Stefanie Golan has been chosen to participate in the 2019 Sports Envoy Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). She joins former MLS and USMNT player, Tony Sanneh, as the two travel to Kenya from March 31-April 11 to work with and in the local communities to encourage athletic engagement and activity as well as share their knowledge and experiences from both on and off the field.

The Sports Envoy program gives leading figures in athletics the opportunity to facilitate sports diplomacy on behalf of the United States and increase cultural and social understanding between participating nations.


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Country 124 - Uzbekistan

Harlem Globetrotter stars TNT Lister and Zeus McClurkin represented the Globetrotters on a recent eight-day goodwill trip around the central Asian country of Uzbekistan as part of the U.S. State Department’s Sports Envoy program.

The Globetrotter duo presented basketball clinics, as well as their anti-bullying school program (T.E.A.M. Up) in cities across Uzbekistan, including the capital city of Tashkent, as well as Chust, Namangan, Andijan, Margilan and Kuva (Uzbekistan is roughly equivalent in area to the state of California).

In addition to presenting the clinics and the T.E.A.M. Up program, TNT and Zeus were able to experience a great deal of Uzbek culture. In Margilan, they received a rare tour of the Yodgorlik Silk Factory, where supremely skilled artisans do beautiful work to produce silk scarfs, carpets and quality garments by hand. Their visit to schools in Kuva and Margilan included gifts of traditional Uzbekistan clothing called a Chapan - a long robe.

The Globetrotters were greeted at each stop with music, dance and traditional round loaves of bread known as non. They were also greeted in each city with a traditional gesture of the right hand over the heart, which is a symbol of huge respect and honor and can be used when saying hello, goodbye and thank you.

The visit from the Harlem Globetrotters to Uzbekistan is part of a wider Sports Diplomacy initiative developed in cooperation with U.S. Embassy Tashkent and the Uzbek Ministry of Public Education. The T.E.A.M. Up campaign in the Fergana Valley was very well received by the schools in the regions and we hope that such events will continue to highlight the productive cooperation between Uzbekistan and the United States. The Globetrotters represent the best of American culture and values: they demonstrated what it means to be part of a team, and how much more we can accomplish when we work together. TNT Lister and Zeus McClurkin won the hearts and minds of the people of Uzbekistan, proving that people-to-people diplomacy is the most effective way to develop partnership and cooperation.
— Alan Meltzer, Charge d'Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent. “

WNBA Champions Ruthie Bolton and Sheri Sam Visit Armenia and Georgia.

Former WNBA players Ruthie Bolton and Sheri Sam travelled to both Armenia and Georgia from July 16th-26th as U.S. Department of State Sports Envoys.

They hosted a multi-day basketball clinic in collaboration with the local implementing program partners, met with local government officials, spoke to localyouth athletes and coaches, and much more. 

During the 10 day, two country trip; Ruthie and Sheri were able to share their experience, knowledge, and advice for diverse audiences of stakeholders, all aimed at showcasing the power of sports, communication, positivity, and awareness. 


Trooper Johnson Visits Kuwait

National Wheelchair Basketball Hall of Famer and current head coach of the Women's National Team travelled to Kuwait City, Kuwait from March 10th - March 16th as a U.S. Department of State Sports Envoy.

Trooper hosted a multi-day basketball clinic in collaboration with the Kuwait Disabled Sports Club, met with local government officials, spoke to local groups and individuals with disabilities, and much more. 

In the five day trip, Trooper was able to share his experience, knowledge, and advice for diverse audiences of stakeholders, all aimed at showcasing the power of sports, communication, positivity, and awareness. 


Barry Siff Travels to Panama

Triathalon USA  Board of Directors Member Barry Siff travelled to Panama City, Panama from February 27th - March 5th as a U.S. Department of State Sports Envoy.

Barry had a busy schedule that included visits with local triathalon coaches to share best practices, meetings with youth to discuss the power of sports, a collaboration with Peace Corps that included a 3k run, joining the monthly Wednesday Night Ride through Panama City, interactive sessions at local schools, joining the Ocean to Ocean Bike Ride as part of Team USA, and much much more. 

Barry really enjoyed the experience of being a Sports Envoy, feeling that the program was impactful to both the communities they visited and on himself personally. He said, “Of all the things I do in sport, I have to say this is my absolute most rewarding, fun, and interesting opportunity, that of a Sports Envoy.”.

 


It’s was amazing. The people, culture, the vibe and the local team, all fantastic.
— Barry Siff- 2018 Sports Envoy Panama

Dean Karnazes Travels to Peru

Ultramarathon legend Dean Karnazes travelled to Peru, January 6–15, as a U.S. Department of State Sports Envoy. Karnazes engaged Peruvian communities, including some of the country’s top runners, senior sports and youth officials, blind athletes, and indigenous people.

In Lima, Karnazes shared his expertise with the Pan American Games committee as it plans to host athletes and visitors from throughout the Americas in Lima in 2019. He also volunteered with the “I’m Your Eyes” program to empower blind athletes, and support a sports program that uses athletics to help rehabilitate female prison inmates.

Karnazes then traveled to the cities of Huancayo and Cusco to share best practices with top Peruvian runners, many of whom are from indigenous communities and who train in high-altitude regions. In Cusco, he will also join runners of the Chaki Wayra program, which encourages underserved youth to pursue positive life goals through running. Additionally, Karnazes will speak at the Binational Centers in Lima, Huancayo, and Cusco.

Had the incredible honor of running with, and guiding, the I’m Your Eyes team in Lima, Peru. I was even guided myself (wearing a blindfold). Man, do I respect what they do! Simply remarkable.
— Dean Karnazes, 2017 Sports Envoy in Peru

Alex Morgan & Servando Carrasco Travel to Tanzania

U.S. Women’s National Team forward Alex Morgan and seven-year Major League Soccer veteran Servando Carrasco travelled to four cities in Tanzania (Dar Es Salaam, Zanzibar, Arusha, and Iringa) from Dec. 2-10 as part of the U.S. State Department and U.S. Soccer Sport Envoy Program.

Morgan and Carrasco participated in Sports Diplomacy programs and soccer clinics with more than 150 students in rural areas of Tanzania during the course of the trip. In addition to conducting a clinic with Maasai villagers near Arusha, Tanzania, Morgan and Carrasco held soccer clinics and spoke with students from schools in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar. The Sports Envoys visited two all-girls soccer programs to highlight the importance of providing equal opportunities in strengthening democratic participation and economic development. 

I’m here in Tanzania to learn about these amazing girls and boys who go to this school, to play soccer with them, to share stories- how inspirational and how athletic these girls and boys are.
— Alex Morgan, 2017 Sports Envoy in Tanzania