The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, in partnership with USA Hockey, announces that a group of American youth ice hockey players will travel as Youth Sports Envoys to Moscow, Russia, October 5 – 14, 2012. The upcoming program supports the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission’s efforts to strengthen relationships between the people of the United States and Russia.
The program will send 24 Americans—ten boys, ten girls, and four coaches—for ten days of sports and cultural diplomacy with their Russian counterparts. The participants were selected in coordination with USA Hockey and hail from San Jose and Venice, California, as well as Elk River, Duluth, and Maple Grove, Minnesota. During this exchange, the group will engage with their Russian peers through ice hockey and other cultural programs.
This exchange reciprocates a 2011 program that brought 24 Russian ice hockey players and coaches to Washington, D.C. It is the final of eight exchanges that were a part of a 2009 agreement between the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Russian Ministry of Sports, Tourism and Youth Policy, under the auspices of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission’s Education, Culture, Sports and Media Working Group.
Sports diplomacy builds on Secretary Clinton’s vision of “smart power,” which embraces the use of a full range of diplomatic tools, including sports exchanges, to bring people together for greater understanding.
SportsUnited is the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ Division devoted to sports diplomacy programs at the U.S. Department of State. Since 2003, SportsUnited has brought more than 1,000 athletes from over 60 countries to the U.S. to participate in Sports Visitor programs. Since 2005, SportsUnited has sent more than 220 U.S. athletes to over 50 countries to participate in Sports Envoy programs.