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On the heels of the U.S. Department of State-espnW Global Sports Mentoring Program’s (GSMP) 10th anniversary celebration and the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the landmark legislation that afforded women equal opportunity in education and sports across the United States, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) welcomed 15 international sports leaders to the U.S. for the GSMP fall program. With the University of Tennessee’s Center for Sport, Peace, and Society as the cooperative partner, the GSMP has proven to be a successful government, private sector, and academic partnership.

This week, which also celebrates the International Day of the Girl Child, the international women sports leaders started their professional mentorships, working side-by-side with senior executives in the U.S. sports sector. Together, they share personal, business, entrepreneurial, and strategic management insights and in turn, are enriched by new cultural perspectives and an expanded domestic and global network.

The program promotes key tenets of Title IX such as inclusion, access, and opportunity, and applies them globally. Through action plans developed with their mentors, program participants are making a difference every day to advance the participation of women and girls in sports. For example, a GSMP participant from Brazil overcame alcohol addiction and poor influences in her youth to become an Olympic wrestler. She joined the 2017 GSMP with a dream to create opportunities for girls to overcome poverty, domestic violence, pay inequality, and barriers to education. After returning from the GSMP, she launched her own nonprofit to empower young girls and equip them as leaders and advocates through wrestling.

This class joins the ranks of 234 outstanding alumni in GSMP programs empowering both women and people with disabilities through sports – Olympians, Paralympians, sports journalists, ministerial officials, civil society leaders, and others – from 91 countries.  The fall program features participants from Brazil, Croatia, Egypt, Georgia, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Kosovo, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Turkey. They will be mentored by leaders representing the Big East Conference, DoubleVerify, DraftKings, ESPN, Gatorade, Green Bay Packers, National Collegiate Athletic Association, National Football League, National Hockey League, New Balance, Saatchi & Saatchi, University of Connecticut, United States Tennis Association, and the Women’s Sports Foundation.

For more information, please contact the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at and ESPN’s Isabelle Lopez at  To learn more about ECA’s Sports Diplomacy Division, follow them on Twitter @SportsDiplomacy and Facebook @sportsdiplomacydivision.

U.S. Department of State

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