The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the NBA, is sponsoring the Global All-Star Basketball Sports Visitor Program starting this week. Eighteen youth players and six coaches from Argentina, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Nigeria, and Turkey will be in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, February 5 before heading to New Orleans for a 10-day program. While in New Orleans, they will take part in activities surrounding the NBA All-Star game. This visitor program will tip off an exciting 2014 sports diplomacy lineup that will connect hoopsters around the globe with American culture and values. These sports diplomacy exchanges encourage mutual understanding and empower underrepresented audiences.
ECA’s sports diplomacy programs emphasize the benefits of sports participation, which include improved health, enhanced self-esteem, and increased academic success. Sports diplomacy also teaches lessons about teamwork, the value of education, inclusion, and conflict resolution. As a catalyst for positive change, sports can empower marginalized women and girls as well as serve as a fundamental part of long-term social development. This year, through several sports exchanges, the Department will continue a long and distinguished partnership with the NBA:
Sports Visitors: Youth basketball players from the typhoon ravaged Visayas region in the Philippines will come for a program during the NCAA March Madness season. As part of the Empowering Women and Girls through Sports Initiative, another ECA multi-nation program will take place surrounding the NCAA Women’s Final Four Basketball tournament. Both programs will engage NBA and WNBA players.
Sports Envoys: NBA and WNBA players will travel on separate programs to Africa’s Great Lakes Region, China, Morocco, the Republic of Korea, Spain, and Sri Lanka.
For press inquiries, contact the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State, at firstname.lastname@example.org.