The SportsUnited division also supports important bilateral relationships by using sports as a way to increase positive and direct interaction between Americans and citizens in other countries.
U.S.-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE)
U.S.-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE) aims to enhance and strengthen ties between the citizens of the United States and China in the areas of sports, education, culture, science and technology and women's issues. Thus, sports diplomacy is one of the key elements of this greater cross-national engagement.
Forty years ago, "ping pong diplomacy" paved the way for the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and China. Since then, sports have continued to play an important role in bringing the people of our two countries together. The U.S. Department of State has organized several programs for Chinese athletes and coaches to exchange ideas and cultures through basketball, soccer and disability inclusive sports. As part of the Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports Initiative, the U.S. Department of State organized a WNBA Basketball Envoy program in northern China. The U.S. Department of State looks forward to continued contributions to the CPE through other unique programs in 2012 and 2013.
U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission
Recognizing the need to make a fresh start in relations between the United States and Russia, President Medvedev and President Obama created the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission to improve coordination between our countries, address shared challenges, and explore new opportunities for partnerships in areas of mutual interest. The U.S. Department of State plays an active role in the Commission's Working Group on Education, Culture, Sports, and Media, which focuses on developing connections and innovative collaborations to promote new dialogue and understanding between the people of the United States and Russia.
Since May of 2010, several delegations of young American and Russian athletes and their coaches have shared their cultures through sports diplomacy exchange programs in hockey, swimming, basketball and volleyball. One group of young Russians even had the chance to play basketball with President Obama. Most recently, the U.S. Department of State sent a delegation of young American hockey players and their coaches to Russia in the fall of 2012 as a part of this continuing effort.