Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
July 7, 2011

The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announced today the first-ever international sports exchange that brought six female basketball players and two coaches from Saudi Arabia to the United States. During this sports visitor program, which brings athletes and coaches to the United States for a 10-day international exchange, the Saudi delegation will meet with athletes from the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), and train with collegiate programs and youth athletes in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

Sports diplomacy builds on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s vision of “smart power.” It embraces the use of a full range of diplomatic tools, including sports, to bring individuals together in order to foster a greater understanding of societal norms and cultures.

SportsUnited is the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ 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

PRN: 2011/1136