Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
July 18, 2011

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced today that former NBA player Sam Vincent and Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) Legend Andrea Stinson will travel as sports envoys to Amman, Irbid, and Zarqa in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan from July 17-22. Vincent and Stinson will conduct six youth basketball clinics, work with disabled athletes, and meet with Jordanian sports officials. In addition, the sports envoys will visit with Jordanian students of the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study program and the English Access Microscholarship Program.

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

Sports envoys are current and retired professional athletes and coaches that travel overseas to conduct drills and team building activities, as well as engage youth in a dialogue on the importance of education, positive health practices and respect for diversity. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ SportsUnited Office, in partnership with the NBA, has sent 44 NBA and WNBA players and coaches to 22 different countries since 2004, where they have conducted basketball clinics for thousands of young boys, girls and coaches.

For more information on the Bureau’s Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study program, click here. More information regarding the English Access Microscholarship Program may be found here.

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ SportsUnited Office leads the U.S. Department of State’s international exchange efforts to bring the global community together through sports. 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 (202) 632-6043/ or Betty Amireh at the U.S. Embassy in Amman at +96265905475/

PRN: 2011/1204