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Diplomacy in Action

U.S. Department of State Announces Sports Envoys to Engage Youth in Indonesia

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
April 30, 2012


The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced today that NBA Legend Rick Mahorn and WNBA Legend Edna Campbell will travel as Sports Envoys to engage youth in Yogyakarta, Surakarta, and Jakarta, Indonesia beginning April 30 through May 4.

While in Indonesia, Mahorn and Campbell will conduct basketball clinics for underserved youth as well as lead discussions on the importance of teamwork, respect for diversity, and education.

Sports diplomacy builds on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s vision of “smart power,” which embraces the full range of diplomatic tools – in this case the game of basketball – to bring people together to foster greater understanding.

Previous sports envoy program diplomats include: NBA Hall of Famer George Gervin; NBA Legend Sam Perkins; Willie Green of the New Orleans Hornets; Miami Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra; NBA Legend Billy Owens; Swintayla “Swin” Cash of the Chicago Sky; Ashley Robinson of the Washington Mystics; and WNBA basketball greats Cynthia Cooper and Sue Wicks. Since 2004, in partnership with SportsUnited, approximately 50 NBA and WNBA players and coaches have visited 30 different countries, where they have conducted hundreds of basketball clinics for thousands of young boys and girls and coaches.

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.

PRN: 2012/668

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