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The ECA’s Sports Diplomacy Division

There are many sporting initiatives that have at their heart an ethos of changing and enhancing the culture of local and worldwide communities. But are you aware that the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) is set up to assist, using the power of sport, the protection of the environment.

The preservation of the environment as a foreign policy has been a pressing concern for the United States Government since 2013. Ever since 2013, the ECA has designated the Sport’s Diplomacy Division to explore via sports, environmental issues. And also to actively engage youth and political leaders in sports.

Sporting Exchanges

A most successful way of carrying on this policy is through student exchange programs, and a number of initiatives of efficiency sporting exchanges are now underway. This has included Brazilian youth soccer players taking part in a recycling program on World Earth Day. Also, the American Federation of State Track and Field supported similar activities on the same day cleaning up parts of the Fiji coast. These two activities and the hundreds more from around the world shook the ECA to produce a new set of goals named the Sports and Sustainability Initiative.

The Sports and Sustainability Initiative

As previously mentioned there are many sporting initiatives underway through the direction of the ECA, and these include the Global Green Races which is run and maintained by U.S. Embassies to produce community based activities such as tree planting, recycling, and developing locally produced food in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Benin, Nicaragua, Colombia and Mexico.

There has even been a new position created which is the U.S. Department of State Endurance Envoy. The first envoy was Dean Karnazes and he decided to lead by example by undertaking an extremely long marathon run along the famous Silk Road. The run was undertaken by Mr Karnazes to enhance cultural exchange and promote health between the neighboring countries of Kyrgystan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. The new envoy has committed himself to spread the word of recycling in future activities of the Global Green Race program.

Tri for the Planet

There is even a nominated triathlon envoy who traveled to Benin in 2016 to promote an activity called Tri for the Planet, which message was to call for proper sanitation, clean water and pure air. He also reiterated the theme of focusing on the environment. The ECA has rubber stamped its commitment to sporting initiatives to aid the environment, and this will be through partnerships with organizations around the world. Another main aspect of this collaboration is to promote environmental sustainability by transcending above barriers such as politics and cultural differences.

The United State Government has highlighted ECA as a champion for a cause and has made it known that full cooperation from American embassies and consulates around the world will be made available to the initiative. There is no doubt the power of sport in the whole of this global initiative, it is the one activity that can act as a method of crossing over barriers and difficulties preventing change for the good. And the world will be a better place for everybody when the initiative succeeds. 

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