From players and coaches engaging youth abroad to teams mentoring emerging women in sport, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and the National Football League (NFL) announced today plans to create new opportunities for collaboration and cooperation through sports diplomacy, a powerful tool used to support U.S. foreign policy at home and abroad.
This fall, as part of the U.S. Department of State – espnW Global Sports Mentoring Program – the Department’s premier exchange for women in sport – the NFL and Green Bay Packers will serve as a first-time mentor organization for Fouzia Madhouni of Morocco. Madhouni is the first female professional African player of American football, and Founder of ‘We Can Morocco,’ an organization that empowers women and girls through leadership courses and American football sessions while also engaging with men to discuss the role they play in advancing gender equality. She will be mentored by Taryn Hutt, Vice President of Club Marketing at the NFL; Nicole Ledvina, Vice President of Human Resources at the Green Bay Packers; and Chris Cohorst, Human Resources Manager at the Green Bay Packers in New York and Green Bay, Wisconsin. Madhouni will work with them to craft an action plan to implement in her home country to empower women and girls through sports.
In addition, beginning in 2023, in coordination with the NFL and U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide, NFL players and coaches will travel overseas through the Department of State’s Sports Envoy Program, which sends U.S. athletes, coaches, and administrators abroad to engage youth and underrepresented communities on the field and in society on the importance of key American values, such as democracy, diversity and inclusion, and civic engagement.
The NFL joins numerous other professional and amateur sports leagues and organizations in supporting the United States’ sports diplomacy efforts, including Athletes Unlimited, the Harlem Globetrotters, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, NASCAR, the National Basketball Association, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the National Hockey League, the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), Special Olympics, USA Boxing, USA Cycling, USA Hockey, USA Rugby, USA Skateboarding, USA Softball, USA Swimming, USA Volleyball, USA Wrestling, U.S. Fencing Association, U.S. Figure Skating, U.S. Soccer, U.S. Ski and Snowboard, U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, U.S. Tennis Association (USTA), U.S. Track and Field, the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), and the World Surf League.