With March Madness – the annual collegiate basketball tournament that crowns a national champion in the United States – heating up, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) announced today that, as part of its broader efforts to empower women and girls through sport, 14 club and federation basketball coaches from Serbia will travel to Louisville, Kentucky and Dallas, Texas from March 21 – April 4 to engage with their American counterparts, civil society, the University of Louisville, and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Conference, which is hosted on the margins of the NCAA Women’s Final Four.
While in the United States, these Serbian girls’ basketball coaches will participate in trainings and roundtable discussions on Title IX, the landmark U.S. civil rights law that afforded women and girls an equal playing field through education and sport; mental health; disability rights; and inclusivity in sport.
Sports diplomacy is a public diplomacy tool that provides a gateway for engagement for the United States with audiences and communities beyond the reaches of government-to-government relations. The Sports Visitor Program brings non-elite youth athletes, coaches, and administrators to the United States and pairs them with their American counterparts, on the court and in the community. Through these grassroots sports exchange programs, international exchange participants can experience U.S. culture, engage with the American people, and explore shared commonalities as well as differences on a variety of issues, including leadership, conflict resolution, democratic values, and public service.