Global Sports Mentoring Program (GSMP)

The Global Sports Mentoring Program (GSMP) is a professional development exchange that pairs international leaders with American executives in the sports sector for a mentorship that promotes inclusion and gender equality. The GSMP has two thematic areas: the espnW GSMP on women’s rights and Sport for Community: GSMP on disability rights. During the program, GSMP delegates develop in-depth action plans aimed at leveling the playing field for women and girls and increasing sports access and opportunities for people with disabilities.

Under the U.S. Department of State’s sports diplomacy umbrella, the Global Sports Mentoring Program (GSMP) emerges as the Department’s cornerstone professional development pillar to promote social inclusion by elevating the status of marginalized populations through sports—especially women and people with disabilities. The GSMP encourages mutually beneficial relationships between American sports executives and international leaders in the sports sector. Founded on participant-led action plans, the GSMP positively impacts communities around the world having directly engaged over 310,000 individuals as of 2020.

Igniting the power of public-private partnerships, the State Department and ESPN/espnW joined forces to create the espnW GSMP in a shared effort to level the playing field for women. Since the GSMP’s inception in 2012, the University of Tennessee’s Center for Sport, Peace, and Society has served as the cooperative partner on the GSMP.

Building on the success of the espnW GSMP, the U.S. Department of State’s Sports Diplomacy Division later launched the GSMP: Sport for Community—a counterpart exchange program on disability rights. For more on the history of the GSMP, please visit:

Every fall, the espnW GSMP connects international female change agents in sports with American senior executives for a five-week mentorship tackling gender equality. Drawing on the principles of Title IX— the landmark U.S. law that afforded equality for American women in sports and education–the espnW GSMP inspires international participants to take these lessons worldwide. For more on the espnW GSMP:

Taking place in the spring of every year, the GSMP: Sport for Community on disability rights taps into the global attention received by mega-sporting events—like the Paralympic Games, Special Olympics, and Deaflympics—to connect male and female international emerging leaders with American mentors in the disability sports sector. This exchange highlights the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)—the U.S. civil rights legislation banning discrimination against people with disabilities in all areas of life, including sports. For more on the GSMP: Sport for Community:

For both, U.S. Embassies in every corner of the world recruit the sports leaders working closely with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ Sports Diplomacy Division.

Further, the mentorship allows for Americans, alumni from former GSMP generations, and other partners to develop a lasting relationship and enhanced global network. Through this expanding web, the international emerging leaders and Americans work together to cause a positive ripple effect toward a more secure global society.

Since 2012, the GSMP has directly involved 210 international delegates from 86 countries and mentors from over 150 American sports organizations across the United States. The GSMP community has directly impacted over 340,000 individuals, mobilized over 10,000 volunteers, catalyzed over 1,500 partnerships, established over 180 sport organizations and reached over 1.5 M people through social media.

While we still have hurdles to overcome in the United States, we know that inclusion is a win-win for everyone and seek changes so that marginalized communities enjoy a life of dignity and opportunity.

For more background on the GSMP, please visit:
To see the GSMP in action, please visit the media page and follow us on social media:

mobilized by GSMP alumni
catalyzed by GSMP alumni
Sport Organizations
established by GSMP alumni
1.5 Million
reached by GSMP alumni
directly impacted by GSMP alumni

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