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From October 10 to November 19, 16 international sports leaders and 14 American mentors in the sports sector from across the country will take part in the annual U.S. Department of State and espnW Global Sports Mentoring Program  (GSMP).  Now in its eighth year, this professional development exchange supports the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ ongoing efforts to advance the rights and participation of women and girls at home and abroad.  With the University of Tennessee’s Center for Sport, Peace, and Society as the cooperative partner, the GSMP has proven to be a successful government, private sector, and academic partnership.

Working side-by-side with these international delegates, senior female executives in the U.S. sports sector open their respective organizations as host sites while sharing personal business, entrepreneurial, and strategic management insights.  In turn, the American mentors are enriched by new cultural perspectives and an expanded domestic and global network.  The mentors guide the delegates in the development of action plans that support women and girls through sports around the world.  Whether it is using soccer camps to level the playing field for girls in Uganda or paving the path for future female leaders in Kosovo’s basketball leagues, the sportswomen of the GSMP have positively and directly impacted over 225,000 people through their action plans.  In the long-run, these combined efforts contribute to a stronger and more stable global society.

The 2019 GSMP class joins the ranks of 114 outstanding alumnae – Olympians, Paralympians, sports journalists, ministerial officials, civil society leaders, and others – from nearly 60 countries.  The 2019 participants hail from: Albania, Bolivia, Brazil, Egypt, El Salvador, Hungary, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lithuania, New Zealand, Nigeria, Samoa, and Serbia.

This year, mentors represent the following companies and organizations:  BIG EAST, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), ESPN, Google, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Minnesota Lynx/Timberwolves, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), New Balance, the National Hockey League (NHL), Saatchi & Saatchi, Spurs Sports and Entertainment, University of Connecticut, and the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA).

Dovetailing on the 2019 Women’s World Cup, the GSMP supports the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ broader “Step In, Dream Big” initiative to promote participation in sports by young women. Join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #Empower Women.  For more information, please contact the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at and ESPN’s Amanda Brooks at


U.S. Department of State

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