The State Department today announced a basketball exchange program with Brazil, according to a press release from the federal agency. The program is, at least in part, coordinated with the National Basketball Association (NBA).
"The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces that 14 teenage athletes—seven boys and seven girls—and two coaches from Brazil will travel to the United States for a basketball exchange February 6-18. The young players are a part of the São Paulo Shooting Stars, a Consulate São Paulo program that provides English language instruction, basketball training, and leadership workshops to low-income public school students in Brazil’s São Paulo metropolitan area. The delegation will participate in NBA community service activities and sports events surrounding the NBA All-Star games in Houston, TX, after their visit to Washington, D.C.," a media note from the spokesman's office at the State Department reads.
The program will helps kids play basketball, the State Department says. "The group will learn about sports in the United States by participating in basketball clinics with American peers and engaging in educational sessions at local schools and organizations on nutrition, conflict resolution, and disability sports. With a focus on youth empowerment and respect for diversity throughout the program, the exchange aims to show participants how hard work applies in sports and academics as well as to provide them an opportunity to share their experiences and create lasting ties with their counterparts in the United States."
The bureau at the State Department that runs the program is called "SportsUnited."
"SportsUnited is the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ division devoted to sports diplomacy 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 education, positive health practices and respect for diversity. The NBA has partnered with SportsUnited since 2005, hosting Sports Visitors from 20 countries and sending nearly 60 current and former NBA and WNBA players and coaches to more than 30 countries as Sports Envoys," according to the State Department.
The federal agency is now run by former Vietnam War protester John Kerry.