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U.S. Department of State Announces First 2013 Sports Envoy Program Advancing Disability Rights and Inclusion in China


Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
May 13, 2013

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The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) announced today that Paralympian Dr. Andrea Woodson-Smith and Deaflympian Dr. Becky Clark will travel to Guangzhou, China, May 15-20, to promote inclusion and equality for persons with disabilities, especially young women and girls. This event marks the first time the State Department will send persons with disabilities as Sport Envoys.

In Guangzhou, Dr. Woodson-Smith and Dr. Clark will participate in discussions with persons with disabilities, students, and organizations supporting persons with disabilities on the topic of disability sports culture in the United States. They will also discuss disability policy with Chinese leadership. This program is a product of joint discussions between U.S. and Chinese leaders at the 2012 U.S.-China Consultation on People to People Exchange (CPE) meetings in Beijing.

Dr. Woodson-Smith is a college professor at North Carolina Central University and former U.S. national women’s wheelchair basketball team member. Today, she plays with the Dallas Lady Mavericks and the Charlotte Rollin’ Bobcats. Dr. Clark, in addition to being a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist, played basketball for the University of Tennessee, is a three-time volleyball Deaflympian who won one gold and two silver medals, and is an accomplished marathoner and softball player. She was a torch bearer for the 2002 Winter Olympics.

This Sports Envoy program supports the U.S. Department of State’s global promotion and practices that respect diversity regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, race, sexual orientation, or disability; and recognition that persons with disabilities have the same rights as non-disabled persons and must be provided access, opportunity, inclusion, and full participation on an equal basis with others.

To learn more about the U.S. Department of State’s sports diplomacy programs, please visit:http://eca.state.gov/programs-initiatives/sports-diplomacy.

For press inquires, contact Katie Leasor of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State, at eca-press@state.gov.



PRN: 2013/0559



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