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The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) announced today seven Sports Envoy programs being held around the world during the month of October. The Sports Envoy program sends professional American athletes and coaches on weeklong experiences to engage in sports-based programming that encourage stronger, more peaceful ties between Americans and people of other countries.

October Sports Envoy programs include:

  • October 3-7: Basketball envoys Bob MacKinnon, Azura Stevens, and Monique Billings in Mexico to elevate female basketball players and coaches;
  • October 8-15: Soccer envoys Lorrie Fair and Tony Sanneh in Cote d’Ivoire to strengthen community relations and conflict resolution skills among young people;
  • October 14-22: Soccer envoys Bonnie Young and Rodney Wallace in Trinidad and Tobago to build social cohesion, including in migrant communities;
  • October 16-21: Basketball envoys Sam Perkins and Kirby Burkholder in Albania to engage youth from underserved communities and encourage inclusion;
  • October 17-21: Soccer envoys Maren McCrary and Christina Murillo in Montenegro to empower female athletes and coaches;
  • October 20-27: Boxing envoys Dr. Christy Halbert and Melissa Ausilio in Tajikistan to engage female athletes and coaches;
  • October 24-28: Tennis envoys Vania King and Nicolas Pereira in Brazil to engage youth from underserved communities and encourage inclusion.

The U.S. Department of State recruits Sports Envoys in collaboration with American professional sports leagues such as the NBA and the NFL, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committees, and national sports federations.  Overseas, U.S. embassies and consulates partner with local organizations to implement Sports Envoy programs, which each advance a U.S. foreign policy goal such as empowering women and girls, engaging marginalized communities, and fostering inclusion and social cohesion.

Through its sports diplomacy programming, ECA encourages the involvement of traditionally underrepresented audiences. Since 2007, ECA has sent over 350 U.S. athletes to more than 150 countries on Sports Envoy programs.

For press inquiries, contact the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at

U.S. Department of State

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