Sports Diplomacy

Sports Diplomacy is an integral part of our efforts to build ever-strengthening relations between Ukraine and the United States. It uses the universal passion for sports to transcend linguistic and sociocultural differences and bring people together. The Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) Sports Diplomacy Division taps into sports’ ability to increase dialogue and cultural understanding among people around the world. The Division uses sports as a platform to expose foreign participants to American culture while providing them with an opportunity to establish links with U.S. sports professionals and peers. In turn, Americans learn about foreign cultures and the challenges young people from other countries face today.

Sports Visitor Programs are intensive, fast-paced two-week exchange programs. Each program has a unique theme, but all programs integrate sports with leadership development, volunteerism, and exposure to U.S. society, culture, and values.  These sports-themed programs offer participants the opportunity to interact with Americans and experience the U.S. firsthand. Sports Visitors are young, non-elite athletes and coaches chosen by U.S. missions overseas.

In Ukraine, U.S. Embassy Kyiv has most recently used sports diplomacy to engage girls in soccer, through the ECA sports visitor program, and young Ukrainian basketball players and coaches from across the country in order to develop leadership skills and team-building techniques that they can use to improve their local communities.  The activities include sessions on sport and society in the U.S., nutrition, strength and conditioning, gender equity in sport, sport and disability, and more.  Our goals for these programs are to strengthen knowledge, skills, leadership, and social networks and to enable participants to become instruments of positive change in Ukraine through sports.

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