Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
June 26, 2011


The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announced today that 10 Iraqi youth basketball players will travel to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area for an international sports exchange June 22-July 2, 2011. These young athletes will meet with and play basketball with their American counterparts, participate in team-building exercises and clinics, and interact with members of the Washington Mystics of the Women’s National Basketball Association.

They will also participate in clinics conducted by Georgetown University and Gallaudet University. This is the third youth sports exchange with Iraq since 2009. Previous programs included an all-female basketball program in 2009 and a mixed delegation of baseball and softball players and coaches in 2010.

Sports exchanges build on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s vision of “smart power” diplomacy, which embraces the use of a full range of diplomatic tools to bring people together and foster greater understanding among people and cultures.

SportsUnited is the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ premier sports exchange program at the U.S. Department of State. Athletes and coaches from a range of sports are chosen to conduct clinics, visit schools, and engage with youth overseas in a dialogue on the importance of an education, positive health practices, and respect for diversity. Since 2003, SportsUnited has brought more than 600 athletes from 44 countries to the U.S. to participate in Sport Visitor programs. Since 2005, SportsUnited has sent more than 100 U.S. athletes to 40 countries to participate in Sport Envoy programs.

For more information, contact Talley Sergent of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State, at SergentRT@state.gov.



PRN: 2011/1071