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The State Department of Sports (SDOS) is a government agency that promotes amateur sport in underserved communities. The organization has a number of programs aimed at reaching out to communities that are not often reached by professional sports. One example is the Sports Envoy program. Sports Envoys are selected for short-term exchanges overseas to bring sports to under-served communities. These envoys go abroad for a seven to ten-day period, participating in sport exchanges.

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Sports Envoy programs are designed to reach under-served communities

The U.S. Department of State's Sports Envoy division uses basketball-based programs to build relationships and foster mutual understanding in under-served communities. Since its inception in 2004, 42 NBA players have visited 19 countries and conducted basketball clinics with thousands of youth. Specifically, the program aims to reach youth in rural communities and help them overcome the barriers that prevent them from achieving their full potential in life.

The Sports Envoy program is a unique initiative that mobilizes the talents of U.S. athletes, coaches, and administrators to visit communities in need. The mission of the program is to engage youth in dialogue about the importance of leadership, inclusivity, and academic achievement through sports. Using sports as a vehicle, the U.S. Embassies coordinate these programs to reach under-served communities around the world.

The ECA recognized that sports diplomacy could be a powerful outreach tool, and the first SportsUnited program was launched in 2002. This program works to connect young Muslims throughout the Middle East with other under-served youth around the world. Since then, SportsUnited has hosted hundreds of youth and athletes from nearly 100 nations. The organization also organizes sports-based programs for underserved sports and has helped create more than 30,000 opportunities for youth from under-served communities around the world to participate in the sport.

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Unlike traditional sports diplomacy, the U.S. government is committed to empowering youth in under-served communities. This commitment to youth empowerment is evident in their efforts to create an environment where young people can participate in sports, while at the same time learning about American culture. This program aims to bridge cultural differences by using sports as a platform for dialogue, inclusion, and tolerance.

Empowering Women Through Sports Initiative is another initiative aimed at increasing female participation in sports. It seeks to foster better self-esteem, focus on quality education, and inspire a new generation of female leaders. The Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports Initiative is comprised of three parts:

The United States Department of State's Sports Diplomacy and Cultural Relations uses the popularity of American athletes and sports leagues worldwide as an opportunity to build stronger international relations. Unlike traditional methods of outreach, athletes have traveled to countries where traditional methods proved ineffective or even impossible. Athletes have also helped develop their skills in leadership, teamwork, and communication, which can be invaluable assets to the U.S. government.

Envoys travel abroad on short-term (7-10 day) sports exchanges

The U.S. Department of State's Sports Diplomacy Division (formerly known as SportsUnited) is a federal program that promotes goodwill and international understanding among young people by utilizing sport as a powerful platform. The program serves as an integral component of the Fulbright-Hays Act, which aims to increase mutual understanding through shared interests, and promote friendly relations between the United States and other nations. In addition to sports-related exchanges, the department also engages influential young leaders from around the world through its ECA-funded program.

The State Department of Education and Cultural Affairs sponsors nearly four-fifths of the U.S. and foreign participants in cultural, educational, and professional exchanges. Other government agencies sponsor the remaining participants. Exchange programs are authorized by the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961. The American Cultural Centers Abroad program brings current and future leaders to the United States for cultural and educational exchange.

The American Council on International Education's Sports Diplomacy program has a long list of beneficiaries. Eminent American athletes and sports officials are invited to serve on exchange missions and exchange programs. The United States has a long-standing history of supporting international sport, and the State Department of Sports is working to expand that role in the coming years. However, the current administration has a new era of international sports, and many of the envoys are going to be working in a more strategic way.

Envoys are selected by a competitive application process

The Sports Envoy Program and its Office of Citizen Exchanges announce an open competition for two new exchange programs. The Sports Envoy Program and the Sports Visitor Program are designed to build international capacity and cross-cultural understanding. Both programs use sports to promote core U.S. values and foreign policy goals. A competitive application process will determine which organizations will be selected to be part of the Sports Visitor and Envoy programs.