The U.S. Department of State’s Global Sports Mentoring Program Receives Peace and Sport’s “Diplomacy Action of the Year Award”

October 24, 2018

On October 18, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ Sports Diplomacy Division received the prestigious “Diplomacy Action of the Year Award” from Peace and Sport, an NGO based in Monaco devoted to sport for social change, at the organization’s annual forum in Rhodes, Greece. The award recognizes individuals, programs, and organizations that propel world-wide social change through sport.

The Department was recognized specifically for its work in collaboration with the University of Tennessee’s Center for Sport, Peace, and Society on the Global Sports Mentoring Program (GSMP), its flagship professional development sports exchange program on women’s empowerment and disability rights.

Rinor Gashi a participant in the 2017 Sport for Community: Global Sports inclusion advocate and leader of Kosovo’s Wheelchair Basketball Federation, accepted the award on behalf of the GSMP. Gashi participated in the 2017 GSMP Sport for Community exchange, where he was mentored by Doug Garner, and assistant director of campus recreation for adapted sports at the University of Texas at Arlington. Participating in the GSMP allowed Gashi to return home and collaborate with the Basketball Federation of Kosovo to establish the country’s first wheelchair basketball federation.

Since its inception in 2012, the Global Sports Mentoring Program has worked with a strong roster of organizations such as espnW, the National Hockey League, National Ability Center, Burton Snowboards, Ability 360, and other partners to create a global network of influencers who strive to promote positive change in their communities through sports.