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    U.S. Department of State and the NBA Announce Basketball Envoy Program in Venezuela

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    U.S. Department of State and the NBA Announce Basketball Envoy Program in Venezuela

    Government and Politics

    Posted in Government and Politics by on May 24, 2012

    The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced today that they will send WNBA Legend and seven-time All-Star, Nykesha Sales, as a Sport Envoy to Venezuela May 28 to“ June 1. Sales will join Venezuelan NBA player, Greivis Vasquez , to conduct six youth basketball clinics and interact with young people in Caracas and three other cities . ****

    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. ****

    Sport Envoys are current and retired professional athletes and coaches from a range of sports that travel overseas to conduct drills, lead teambuilding sessions, and engage youth in a dialogue on the importance of education, health, and respect for diversity. In partnership with SportsUnited, NBA and WNBA players and coaches have visited over 40 countries since 2004. The athletes have offered basketball clinics for thousands of boys, girls, and coaches. Past Envoys include Miami Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra, NBA Hall of Famer George “The Iceman” Gervin, and current WNBA players, Swin Cash and Ashley Robinson. ****

    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 nearly 1,000 athletes from over 60 countries to the U.S. to participate in Sport Visitor programs. Since 2005, SportsUnited has sent over 220 U.S. athletes to more than 50 countries to participate in Sport Envoy programs. ****

    For more information, contact Marthena Cowart of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State, at CowartMS@state.gov , or Sharon DeLima of the NBA at +1 (212) 407-8170 or slima@nba.com . ****

    Photo by Eric Kilby (originally posted to Flickr as Tangle Underneath) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons 

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