The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and USA Basketball, announced today that 20 young American athletes and four coaches traveled to Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia for a two-week exchange beginning on July 7. This is the fifth exchange under the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission. While in Russia, the student participants will learn about Russian culture and take part in basketball clinics with local athletes. The visiting American participants will be hosted by the Russian Ministry of Sport, Tourism, and Youth Policy and the Russian Basketball Federation.
Since 2010, four groups of youth athletes have traveled between Russia and the United States, with a goal of enhancing people-to-people relations under the Bilateral Presidential Commission. During the initial exchange in May 2010, 24 young Russian basketball players visited the Washington, D.C. area, where they played basketball with President Obama. Since then, Russian swimmers and ice hockey players traveled to the United States, while American beach volleyball players traveled to Russia for a two-week sports exchange program.
Under the leadership of Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitri Medvedev, and coordinated by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the U.S.–Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission is dedicated to identifying areas of cooperation and joint projects that strengthen strategic stability, promote international security, and facilitate connections between the Russian and American people. For more information on the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission, click here.
Sports diplomacy builds on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s vision of “smart power” diplomacy. It embraces the use of a full range of diplomatic tools, including sports, to bring people together for greater understanding. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ SportsUnited Office leads the U.S. Department of State’s international exchange efforts to bring the global community together through sports.
For more information, contact Talley Sergent of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State, at SergentRT@state.gov or Michael Hurley, U.S. Embassy Moscow, HurleyMJ@state.gov.