The Initiative

The Basics of the Program

The Global Sports Mentoring Program is an international leadership development program that was launched in 2012 by the U.S. Department of State. It now consists of two pillars that focus on advancing gender equality (i.e., Empowering Women through Sports program) and disability rights (i.e., Sport for Community program). These five-week, immersive mentorship experiences focus on empowering international delegates to serve their local communities by increasing access to and opportunities for participation in sports.

Twice annually, 16 to 17 participants demonstrating leadership skills and experience in the sports sector are chosen from a list of nominees selected by U.S. Embassies across the world. These delegates are typically between 25 and 40 years of age, proficient in English, and have three or more years of work or volunteer experience with a sport-based development program or organization.

Tapping into the unique power of mentoring, host organizations and mentors from the corporate and non-profit worlds are chosen to work alongside delegates during an immersive three-week period. Mentors provide participants with opportunities to cultivate management and business skills in an American sports environment and help shape their vision for change. As a part of the nomination process, each delegate identifies a key need or challenge facing girls and women or persons with disabilities in their home country. During their mentorship in the U.S., they develop a detailed action plan to address this challenge through sports. All action plans are designed to be implemented upon the delegates’ return home and share the common goal of creating sports opportunities for underserved and disadvantaged populations. Development of the action plan serves as the culmination of the mentorship experience.

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