U.S. Department of State Announces International Basketball Exchange with Russia
July 8, 2011
Twenty young American athletes and four coaches embarked on a two-week exchange program through Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia on Thursday. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, in partnership with USA Basketball and the U.S. Embassy in Moscow made the announcement. The participants, both boys and girls between the ages of 15 and 17, will be hosted by the Russian Ministry of Sport, Tourism and Youth Policy and the Russian Basketball Federation, and will take part in learning Russian culture while running basketball clinics with local athletes.
This marks the fifth exchange under the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission. Since 2010, four groups of youth athletes have traveled between Russia and the United States with a goal of enhancing people-to-people relations under Bilateral Presidential Commission. In all, Russian basketball players, swimmers and ice hockey players have traveled to the U.S., while American beach volleyball players have traveled to Russia.
Under the leadership of Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitri Medvedev, and coordinated by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the U.S.–Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission is dedicated to identifying areas of cooperation and joint projects that strengthen strategic stability, promote international security and facilitate connections between the Russian and American people. Sports diplomacy builds on Clinton’s vision of “smart power” diplomacy. It embraces the use of a full range of diplomatic tools, including sports, to bring people together for greater understanding.
The list of boys participating includes: Christopher Braley (Newport, Maine), Calvin Brown (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Conor Clifford (Huntington Beach, Calif.), Jeffrey Coby (Pembroke Pines, Fla.), David Ford (Charlton, Mass), Tre’vonn Morton (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Ikemefuna Mgwudo (Baldwin, N.Y.), Mike Newton (Bedord Heights, Ohio), Skyler White (Clyde Hill, Wash.) and Alec Wulff (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.). The girls participating are: Julia Ford (Charlton, Mass.), Keri Fulp (Pinnacle, N.C.), Kelli Hayes (San Jose, Calif.), Courtney Lisowski (Los Gatos, Calif.), Amanda Lovely (Palo Alto, Calif.), Akela Maize (Greensboro, N.C.), Cameron Nieters (Clemmons, N.C.), Shea Patrick (Oakton, Va.), Kelsey Tillman (Vienna, Va.) and Carmen Watson (Chantilly, Va.). The four coaches are Terry Dunn (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Scott Fitch (Fairport, N.Y.), Jody Patrick (Vienna, Va.) and Diane Richardson (Ellicott City, Md.).