Building on his efforts to engage youth, U.S. Global Cultural Ambassador Kareem Abdul-Jabbar went "wheels up" from the heart of Afro-Brazil in Salvador to Rio de Janeiro.
"So far, I've really enjoyed Rio. I think it's a great city," Abdul-Jabbar said.
In Rio, Abdul-Jabbar started the day meeting with young people at the Rio em Forma Olimpico Project. While there, Abdul-Jabbar shared how education and English-language learning can propel young people to success.
"I had a wonderful time here today. I met a lot of really nice kids. They're very warm and open. I left them with a message and that is that education opens the door for opportunity," Abdul-Jabbar said.
From the Rio em Forma Olimpico Project, Mr. Abdul-Jabbar met with young people in the community of Alemao. With leaders from the NGO "CUFA" -- who work within the favelas to engage youth -- Mr. Abdul-Jabbar discussed his experiences growing up in Harlem and how the choice he made to pursue an education put him on the path to success -- both on and off the basketball court.
Mr. Abdul-Jabbar's service as a Global Cultural Ambassador is rooted in the strategic belief to use people-to-people diplomacy as a means to cultivate greater understanding in cultures and communities worldwide.
"In the twenty-first century in a globalized world diplomacy is no longer going to be run by embassies. It's no longer going to be run by governments. It's going to be about people. It's going to be about societies. It's going to be about connecting all of us. And this means looking for ways, for us a diplomats, to facilitate that process. And that's what we're doing here with this people-to-people diplomacy. We're building a twenty-first century diplomacy," said Ambassador Shannon.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrapped up his inaugural trip as a Global Cultural Ambassador in Rio de Janeiro this week.
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