Sports Diplomacy has emerged as an integral part of efforts to build ever-strengthening relations between the United States and other nations. Sports diplomacy uses the universal passion for sports as a way to transcend linguistic and sociocultural differences and bring people together. Participation in sports teaches leadership, teamwork, and communication skills that help young people succeed in all areas of their lives.

SportsUnited, ECA’s Division devoted to sports diplomacy, taps into sports diplomacy’s ability to increase dialogue and cultural understanding between people around the world. The Division’s use of sports as a platform exposes foreign participants to American culture while providing them with an opportunity to establish links with U.S. sports professionals and peers. In turn, Americans learn about foreign cultures and the challenges young people from other countries face today. SportsUnited has involved thousands of people from over 100 countries in sports exchanges to do just this.

Multimedia by Sport
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Baseball/Softball

Sports Visitors from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela

Organized to coincide with the World Baseball Classics, ECA had a Sports Visitor program for baseball and softball youth coaches from March 1 to 11, 2013.
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Sports Diplomacy Softball Envoys: A Hit in Nicaragua

Under the Department’s Empowering Women and Girls through Sports Initiative, Olympians Jessica Mendoza and Ruby Rojas went to Nicaragua as sports envoys in February of 2013.
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Basketball

Basketball Youth Visitors: Indonesia in Action

From March 17 to 29, ECA led an action-packed basketball program with 12 Indonesian teenage basketball players—six boys and six girls—and two coaches.
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Sports Diplomacy and Senegal: Empowering Women and Girls through Basketball

The Empowering Women and Girls through Sports Initiative’s 2013 calendar tipped off with the Senegal Sports Visitor basketball program.
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Disability Sports

First Sports Envoys with Disabilities Travel to China to Advance Disability Rights and Inclusion

Addressing the rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities in China has emerged as a significant foreign policy issue in the twenty-first century.
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State Department Sports Program Helps Young People with Disabilities in China

Professionals from Mobility International USA, through a Sports Grant traveled to China to help young people with disabilities there become more involved in sports and to increase their self-confidence and involvement in the larger community.
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Martial Arts

Iraqi Taekwondo Program

Working with the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, the U.S. State Department organized a dynamic taekwondo sports program.
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Tajikistan Women's Taekwondo Coaches Delegation

Working with the embassy in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, the U.S. State Department office recruited 12 female taekwondo coaches for a program in the U.S.
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Soccer

Iraqi Soccer Visitors: Leveling the Playing Field

One of the best ways to amplify the impact of our programs comes in the reciprocal programming of our people-to-people exchanges. The December 2013 soccer exchange visitor program with Iraq proved this point.
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Soccer Envoys in Brazil: Getting More Women and Girls Involved in Soccer

Brazil is a nation of soccer, but when it comes to women and girls’ participation in soccer, the numbers tell a different story.
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Soccer in Santiago: Empowering Women and Girls through Sports in Chile

From March 31 to April 7, former U.S. Women’s National Team Soccer Players Linda Hamilton and Kate Sobrero-Markgraf headed up a female-focused sports envoy program in Chile.
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Swimming

American Swimmers Travel to Russia

The State Department had two concurrent bilateral sports exchange programs with Russia in the summer of 2012.
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Tunisian Swimmers Visit the U.S.

Partnering with USA Swimming, the U.S. State Department brought 13 athletes—12 youth and one coach—to the U.S. for a swimming-focused program.
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Track & Field

Colombian Track & Field Visitors: On Track to Empower Women and Girls

Under the Empowering Women and Girls through Sports Initiative, ECA teamed up with U.S. Embassy Bogota to develop a fast-paced track and field program for Colombian girls.
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Pacific Islands Track and Field Delegation Experience the Universal Language of Sports

The U.S. Department of State’s ECA has conducted several track and field programs, but none quite as unique as this most recent one with the Pacific Islands.
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Volleyball

Bumping Up Efforts to Empower Women and Girls Worldwide: Gulf Nations Volleyball Coaches

Under the State Department’s Empowering Women and Girls through Sports Initiative, the Gulf Nations Volleyball Visitor Program brought 10 female volleyball coaches from Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and Yemen to the U.S. for activities focused on the development of sports programs for women and girls.
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Russian Volleyball Players Visit the U.S.

The first sports visitor program brought Russian volleyball players and coaches to Southern California for a beach volleyball.
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Winter Sports

Ice Skating Success Story with Sports Envoy Evan Lysacek

Olympic gold medalist figure skater Evan Lysacek traveled to Sweden and Belarus as a Sports Envoy.
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Snowboarders from Kyrgyzstan Visit the U.S.

The U.S. Department of State office brought twelve snowboarders from Kyrgyzstan to participate in the first-ever Snowboarding Sports Visitor program.
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In their own words

Marco works with an American peer.
Marcos H. Participant Brazil Sports Visitor Program United States Read the story
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Non-Elite Athletes and Coaches
Have directly participated in Sports Visitor and Sports Envoy programs since 2002.