International Sports Delegates from Belgium Visit the U.S.

March 9, 2020

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) Sports Diplomacy Division brought 12 adaptive martial arts coaches and administrators to the U.S. from Belgium for the Sports Visitor Program. The Sports Visitor Program, implemented in conjunction with FHI 360, brings international coaches and administrators to the United States to explore U.S. society, culture, and history through the lens of sports. Delegates participate and learn alongside American peers both on and off the field.

From February 18-March 3, the international delegates spent time in California and Florida with U.S. coaches and professionals participating in events and workshops to learn about sports programming for marginalized communities and promoting disability rights and inclusiveness in sports throughout Belgium.

At the conclusion of the two-week program, the delegates presented action plans to implement when they return home. They were most enthusiastic about creating and enhancing opportunities to promote sports as a means for social inclusion among youth with disabilities via various initiatives including e-learning, youth tournaments, and a youth police league.

Sports Diplomacy is an integral part of U.S. foreign policy efforts to build relations between the United States and other nations. It exposes international 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 citizens from other countries face today. The program also shows young people how success in athletics can translate into achievements in the classroom and life.

Since 2003, ECA has hosted over 2,000 international youth athletes, coaches, and administrators on Sports Visitor programs.

To learn more about ECA’s Sports Diplomacy Division, follow them on Twitter @SportsDiplomacy.

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