Earlier today, Secretary Kerry recorded a video message that will air during the CBS Sports broadcast of the Army-Navy football game with some of the 7,000 veterans and military members who work at the State Department. Are you cheering for Army or Navy?

Earlier today, Secretary Kerry recorded a video message that will air during the CBS Sports broadcast of the Army-Navy football game with some of the 7,000 veterans and military members who work at the State Department. Are you cheering for Army or Navy?

Path to Paralympics Teaches Brazilian Athletes About Disability Rights

The 2012 
Paralympic Games in London was the largest Paralympic sports event to date, as 4,280 athletes from 166 countries competed in 20 sports categories. The participants may have been from different cultures, but they all came together for the same reason: to compete as athletes. MORE.
Colombian Sports Visitors: On the Fast Track to Empowering Girls

Despite the early hour, 12 female athletes and two coaches, bright-eyed and dressed in matching blue and yellow track suits, visited us at the Department of State last week. They were eager to listen, ask questions, and share their experiences as teenage female athletes and Afro-Colombian students. Although the athletes had just met and came from three different cities, they already acted like teammates. Sports have a unique way of bringing people together.

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs developed this fast-paced program as part of our Empowering Women and Girls through Sports Initiative, to inspire and empower more women and girls to become involved in all aspects of sports. During their exchange, the track and field athletes ran side by side with their American counterparts in Washington, D.C., at Woodrow Wilson High School, and then traveled to Portland, Oregon, to work with other female athletes at the 2013 NCAA Track and Field National Championships. MORE

U.S and Brazilian Security Officials Share Best Practices To Support Brazilian Mega-Sporting Events

The Office of Global Intergovernmental Affairs and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security co-hosted a Symposium on Security for Major Sporting Events in New Orleans, April 30-May 1, to advance U.S.-Brazil state and local cooperation.  On the sidelines of the 2013 World Cultural Economic Forum (WCEF), co-hosted by Mayor Landrieu and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the two-day Security Symposium convened security officials from the Brazilian states which will host the 2014 World Cup Games.  Officials from eight U.S. federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies responsible for the organization and support of Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans shared best practices on the coordination of the largest annual sporting event in the United States. MORE

Promoting Inclusion and Rights for Disabled Athletes Through Sports
Young Pacific Island Athletes and Their Coaches Pose for a Photo Outside the U.S. Capitol

Did you know that contrary to popular belief, sign language is not universal? Although the exact number of sign languages around the world is still unknown, 19 deaf track and field athletes communicated through a universal language that they all could understand last week: sports.

I was lucky enough to meet these energetic, young athletes and their six coaches from the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, and the Solomon Islands who were here in the United States participating in a Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Sports Visitors program.  

Building Bridges Through Basketball: Peace in Israel’s Younger Generation

Israeli teens travel to the United States to engage with their American counterparts through sports diplomacy.

About the Author: Lee Satterfield is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cultural and Professional Exchanges in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

Just days before President Barack Obama set off for his historic trip to Israel and the Palestinian Territories, 16 Jewish and Arab-Israeli teens traveled to the United States to engage their American counterparts and highlight the strong relationship between the U.S. and Israeli people. Using the sport of basketball, these young people have focused their efforts on peace-building and cooperation — two themes central to President Obama’s visit.

Engaging young people is a strategic priority for the United States. After all, today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders. And, sports are a vehicle in which we can engage young people from around the world on the court, in the classroom, and in their communities. 

During this international exchange, these young Israelis —… more »

Youth Soccer Promotes Peace and Reconciliation in Kenya

Youths participate in an annual soccer tournament and sports day in the village of Kogelo in western Kenya, Nov. 4, 2012. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Karin L. Von Hippel serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations.

At a massive youth soccer tournament last weekend in Nairobi, the competition was peaceful, and the hope in Kenya is that the election season also will be peaceful.

Kenyans want to avoid the kind of violence that occurred after the 2007 elections. In Nairobi’s Mathare slum, one of Africa’s poorest and largest and a hotspot of violence in 2007, more than 20 people have died as a result of inter-ethnic fighting in recent months. Bob Munro, who created the Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA) in 1987, thought that a big tournament might be a good way to ease tensions.

Munro has an impressive track record. MYSA was designed, in part, to employ sports to help youngsters gain self-confidence and leadership skills. Besides offering athletics, the nonprofit supports activities that fight child labor, creates libraries and study halls, and helps kids with disabilities… more »

A Diverse and Socially Inclusive America Needs to Share Its Story

Wheelchair athlete, left, races along side able-bodied high school runners, April 19, 2006 in Rockville, Md. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Tara D. Sonenshine serves as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.

Diversity is our strength, and everyone, including persons with disabilities, has important contributions to make.

That was one of the overarching messages at the 10th Special Olympics 2013 World Winter Games in South Korea this month, where athletes Tae Hemsath and Henry Meece — born in South Korea with developmental disabilities — returned to their birth country as Special Olympics athletes. Tae competed as a snowshoe racer, Henry as a snowboarder.

That same message resonated today throughout a public forum, where participants at Gallaudet University came to learn about opportunities in international exchange for persons with disabilities, and for members of the deaf community.

The audience was moved by the words and experiences of speakers, including U.S. Representative Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), a former Army helicopter pilot who lost…more »

American Athletes Promote Life Skills for Indian Youth

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
February 12, 2013

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces Major League Baseball Hall-of-Famer Barry Larkin and Olympian Natasha Watley will travel as sports envoys to India from February 12-18. Working with Major League Baseball and USA Softball, this trip marks the Department’s first joint baseball and softball program to encourage youth participation in sports.

In New Delhi and Imphal, Larkin and Whatley will lead baseball and softball clinics for underserved youth and their coaches, as well as engage in dialogue on sports and diversity. In both cities, the sports envoys will meet with officials from the Indian Baseball and Softball Associations as well as representatives from NGOs that promote youth sports opportunities. Throughout the exchange, they will speak with local media about how sports encourage in the development of good sportsmanship, leadership, and teamwork skills. MORE

Taking the Lessons of Title IX Global—On the Court and In Life

Jessica Mendoza, U.S. Olympian and member of the State Department Council to Empower Women and Girls, leads clinics in Nicaragua as part of the State Department's global efforts to empower women and girls through sports, February 4, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Ann Stock serves as Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs.

February 6 marks the 27th National Day of Women and Girls in Sports.

Today in Esteli, Nicaragua, girls from under-served areas are on the softball diamond, fielding grounders, running out base hits, and learning how sports can improve their health and their performance in the classroom.

In Donetsk, Ukraine, girls were on the basketball court, looking for the outlet pass, grabbing rebounds, and working as a team.

In Knoxville, Tennessee, 12 young, female basketball players from Senegal recently concluded a 10-day international exchange.… more »