Burma: Hoops for Change

Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara D. Sonenshine and Ambassador Than Swe pose for a photograph with Burmese youth participating in a SportsUnited exchange program at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., January 8, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

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

They came off the bus in front of the Verizon Center in their white SportsUnited T-shirts. They were 12 Burmese basketball players — six girls, six boys and two coaches — participating in a sports exchange program that started last summer in Rangoon. Their excitement grew as they sat courtside to watch a real professional basketball game — and see the pro’s warming up beforehand. It grew even more when Washington Wizards Bradley Beal and Kevin Seraphin came over to greet them and pose for photographs.

Then they experienced the unique American pastime of a classic NBA basketball game — complete with cheerleaders, acrobats, chants, crowd applause, and… more »

U.S. Department of State Announces Sports Visitor Program with Tunisian Swimmers

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
June 26, 2012

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) announces a sports exchange program that will bring 13 athletes—12 youth and one coach—to the United States from June 26 to July 9. This program marks the fourth sports exchange with Tunisia, following up on basketball Sports Visitor and Sports Envoys programs in 2008, 2010, and 2012.

During the first half of their visit, participants will have an opportunity to attend the 2012 USA Olympics Swimming Trials in Omaha, NE. The delegation will also participate in a Special Olympics session and interact and train with their American counterparts. The final part of the program will take place in Fort Lauderdale, FL where the delegation will take part in a series of intensive swimming clinics, strength and conditioning trainings, and educational summer camp programs alongside American youth. Throughout the two-week program, the group will participate in swimming clinics and related activities with their American peers as well as engage in educational sessions on nutrition, conflict resolution, and disability sports. MORE.

Egyptians and Americans Connect Over Soccer

Egyptian soccer coach poses with youth during SportsUnited exchange program in Washington, D.C., 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Kelli R. Davis serves as a Program Officer for SportsUnited in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Recognizing the positive power of sports, a delegation of soccer coaches from Egypt took to the soccer field, to the classroom, and to local communities to engage with their American counterparts. For 10 days, these soccer coaches, who primarily coach women and girls’ soccer teams across Egypt, not only fine-tuned their soccer and coaching skills — they also got a first-hand glimpse into the lives of every-day Americans.

"We had a chance to work with people of different age groups, different social backgrounds…children with disabilities, and we also covered every single aspect of the game," said Safia Abdel Daymen, a member of the Egyptian delegation.

As a part of the U.S. Department of State’s Empowering Women and Girls through…more »