The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announced today a track and field Sports Visitors exchange that brings 13 youth athletes and two coaches from Kenya and Nigeria to Washington, DC, and Philadelphia, PA., April 18-30, 2012. While in the United States, the visitors will participate in friendly track and field competitions, as well as engage in people-to-people exchanges with local youth.
In partnership with Penn Relays – the oldest track and field competition in the United States – the international delegation will participate in strength and conditioning clinics and attend sessions on nutrition, conflict resolution, team building, and disability sports. They will also join practices and mock track meets with local high school student athletes. After completing these Washington-based activities, the delegation will then travel to Philadelphia, where they will attend the Penn Relays, as well as have the chance to meet and practice with Special Olympic athletes.
Sports diplomacy builds on Secretary Clinton’s vision of “smart power.” It embraces the full range of diplomatic tools, including track and field, to bring people together for greater understanding.
Through the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ SportsUnited Division, the U.S. Department of State conducts sports exchange programs to engage youth worldwide. Sports Visitors are young athletes and coaches who travel to the United States for an exchange. Since 2003, SportsUnited has brought more than 900 athletes from 58 countries to the U.S. to participate in Sport Visitor programs. Since 2005, SportsUnited has sent over 200 U.S. athletes to 50 countries to participate in Sport Envoy programs.