Major League Baseball 13-time All-Star Ken Griffey, Jr. will join Olympic softball champion Natasha Watley in Mexico City, Mexico from February 28 to March 4 as U.S. Department of State sports diplomacy envoys. Griffey and Watley will hold sports clinics for little league softball and baseball players and engage them in a dialogue on the importance of education, teamwork, and respect for diversity.
While in Mexico City, the envoys will work with the U.S. Embassy to meet youth at the Metropolitan Autonomous University Iztapalapa. They will conduct baseball clinics for youth at Deportivo Santa Cruz Mayehualco Sports Center, and partner with Diablos Rojos, a Mexican professional baseball team, for youth outreach.
Sports transcends language, economic, and social barriers, builds a strong foundation of understanding between people of different cultures, and forges life-long relationships. The Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs engages traditionally underrepresented audiences through sports diplomacy. Since 2002, more than 1,400 athletes from more than 70 countries have come to the United States to participate in sports visitor programs, and more than 250 U.S athletes have gone to more than 60 countries on sports envoy programs.
On behalf of the State Department, Griffey has traveled to the Philippines as a Sports Envoy and participated in a Sports Visitor program featuring Iraqi youth ballplayers. Watley traveled to India as a Sports Envoy in 2013.
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