Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr., Highlights Centennial Celebration of U.S.-Czech Relations

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“This is an exciting trip and I’m honored to have the opportunity to teach the game I love, while embracing the culture of the Czech Republic. I look forward to meeting everyone and learning more about how we can help grow the game of baseball internationally,”
— Cal Ripken Jr.

American Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr., will be traveling to the Czech Republic from April 21-25 as a State Department Sports Envoy, part of the Department’s effort to strengthen people-to-people ties as part of U.S. Embassy Prague’s year-long Centennial Celebration of U.S.-Czech relations.

In partnership with Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Czech Baseball Association, Ripken will travel to the cities of Prague, Pilsen, and Brno to conduct clinics for kids, meet with coaches and local officials, and hold public discussions on the game of baseball.

During the visit, Ripken will introduce the sport of baseball and donate baseball equipment to Roma communities in Prague. He will also meet with the Czech Olympic Committee and open a baseball exhibit at the famous Pilsen Brewery.

“This is an exciting trip and I’m honored to have the opportunity to teach the game I love, while embracing the culture of the Czech Republic. I look forward to meeting everyone and learning more about how we can help grow the game of baseball internationally,” said Ripken.

Dean Karnazes Travels to Peru

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

In Lima, Karnazes will share 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 will also volunteer in 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 will then travel 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.

Building cross-cultural understanding through sports diplomacy

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FHI 360 has been awarded a cooperative agreement by the U.S. Department of State to implement the Sports Visitor and Sports Envoy Program, which uses sports as a platform to enhance cross-cultural understanding and open new avenues of dialogue and collaboration between the United States and other countries.

The Sports Envoy program sends current or retired U.S. coaches and athletes to countries around the world to lead sports clinics, promote inclusive values and strengthen youth resiliency. The Sports Visitor program brings coaches, administrators and youth athletes from other countries to the United States to interact with American peers and to experience American society and culture through the lens of sport. Together, the Sports Visitor and Sports Envoy program highlights American expertise, leadership and lessons learned in the sporting arena, from community-based recreational youth play to the professional levels, focusing on the professional and leadership development of youth, coaches and sports administrators. The program will be administered by FHI 360, with funding from the U.S. Department of State’s Sports Diplomacy Division within the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Sports Envoys Alex Morgan and Servando Carrasco Visit Tanzania

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Olympic Gold Medalist and FIFA Women’s World Cup champion Alex Morgan and Orlando City SC midfielder Servando Carrasco of Major League Soccer are traveling to Tanzania on December 2-9 as U.S. Department of State Sports Envoys. The Sports Envoys are helping to bolster the United States’ cultural and social ties with the youth of Tanzania, including the Maasai people living at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Additionally, Morgan and Carrasco will hold soccer clinics and speak with students from schools in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar. The Sports Envoys will also visit two all-girls soccer programs to highlight the importance of providing equal opportunities for all. Nike has donated soccer balls to schools and participants in support of this program.

This Sports Envoy program’s focus on girls and women in sports also builds on the “Equal Playing Field” initiative, which in June 2017 saw 30 women from six continents, including previous U.S. Sports Envoy Lori Lindsey, play the world’s highest soccer match at 18,747 feet (5,714 meters) on Mount Kilimanjaro.