Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
June 4, 2012


The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ SportsUnited Division will bring 13 Iraqi taekwondo athletes, eleven youth and two coaches, to the United States, June 5- 15th, to participate in a U.S. Government sports visitor program. This will be SportsUnited’s second-ever taekwondo sports visitor program and the fourth sports exchange with Iraq.

The athletes’ visit to Washington, DC will focus on an intensive series of martial arts trainings, with coaches from the U.S. National Taekwondo Team, as well as other elite U.S. teams and coaches. In addition, they will attend the Special Olympics Summer Games and engage in strength and conditioning clinics as well as sessions on nutrition, conflict resolution, and disability sports. The young athletes will interact with their American peers during visits to Washington, DC area high schools and summer camps.

Sports diplomacy builds on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s vision of “smart power,” embracing the full range of diplomatic tools, including sports, to bring individuals together to foster greater understanding.

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 education, positive health practices, and respect for diversity. Since 2003, SportsUnited has brought nearly 1,000 athletes from over 60 countries to the U.S. to participate in sports visitor programs. Since 2005, SportsUnited has sent over 220 U.S. athletes to more than 50 countries to participate in sports envoy programs.

For more information, contact Anna Griffin of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State, at griffinal@state.gov.



PRN: 2012/886