The U.S. Department of State welcomes 15 international leaders in the disability sport sector for the annual Sport for Community program from April 9 to May 10 in the United States. Building on the success of the U.S. Department of State and espnW Global Sports Mentoring Program, Sport for Community is a counterpart mentorship exchange designed to create opportunities for people with disabilities and promote inclusion worldwide.

For the five-week exchange, delegates are matched with American executives at top disability sport organizations across the country. Working side-by-side with their mentors, participants develop strategic action plans focused on empowering people with disabilities through sports so that they can experience its benefits: expanded professional networks, increased independence, and economic empowerment. With the start and end of the exchange in Washington, D.C., participants meet U.S. Government leaders, share their perspectives as professionals in disability sport overseas, and learn about the history of the American Disability Rights Act (ADA) and U.S. sports culture.

The roster includes heads of National Paralympic Committees, Special Olympics directors, educators, and sport for inclusion advocates. The 2019 class hails from China, Egypt, Lithuania, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Rwanda, Senegal, Nicaragua, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, Uganda, and Zambia. The mentors represent Ability360, Arizona Disabled Sports, Chicago Park District, National Ability Center, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network, TIRR Memorial Herman, Turnstone, University of Arizona, U.S. Tennis Association, and University of Texas-Arlington.

As the cooperative partner on the Global Sports Mentoring Program (GSMP), the University of Tennessee's Center for Sport, Peace, and Society works with the U.S. Department of State to spearhead both mentorship initiatives: Sport for Community and the public-private partnership program with espnW.

Source: U.S. State Department