Washington, DC - From October 4 to November 10, 16 international emerging leaders and American mentors in the sports sector from across the United States will take part in the U.S. Department of State and espnW Global Sports Mentoring Program (GSMP). In its fifth year, this program supports the State Department’s ongoing efforts to advance the rights and participation of women and girls around the world through sports.

Working side-by-side with these emerging female leaders, senior female executives in the U.S. sports sector open their respective organizations as host sites while sharing their business and personal insights. In turn, the American mentors are enriched by new cultural perspectives and an expanded domestic and global network. The mentors support the emerging leaders as they develop action plans aimed to provide sports opportunities for women and girls in their home countries. Through these action plans, more women and girls experience the benefits of sports: enhanced self-esteem, improved academic performance, and increased health and wellbeing.

The participants hail from Argentina, Benin, Brazil, Jordan, Korea, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, New Zealand, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, and Ukraine. This year’s GSMP class will join the ranks of 66 outstanding alumnae – Olympians, Paralympians, journalists, ministerial officials, civil society leaders, sports administrators, and others – from nearly 40 countries. Whether developing youth basketball leagues in India or creating soccer activities for girls in Jordanian refugee camps, past participants have launched initiatives that promote inclusion and provide opportunities for the underserved.

This year, mentors represent the following companies and organizations: America East, Big East, Disney, ESPN, Google, Ketchum Sports & Entertainment, National Basketball Association (NBA), National Hockey League (NHL), New York Road Runners (NYRR), RPA Advertising, Saatchi & Saatchi, Spurs Sports & Entertainment, the University of Connecticut, and the University of North Carolina. The program is implemented in cooperation with the University of Tennessee’s Center for Sport, Peace, and Society.