As the Olympic and Paralympic Games proved this summer, sports have the unique ability to bring people together peacefully.
As part of its Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports Initiative, the U.S. Department of State brought 18 young female athletes and two coaches from India and Pakistan together recently for the first joint India-Pakistan sports exchange program.
Regardless of their country of origin, these athletes and coaches became a team. They shared laughs, started a new conversation with one another, and encouraged each other to excel both on and off the soccer field.
With a focus on peace building, the India-Pakistan soccer exchange also highlights the importance of using sports as a means of empowerment. According to the United Nations, girls who play sports are more likely to attend school. And with more years of education, a girl can increase both her earning power and her standing in society.
As one athlete, Tanya of India, said: "Sports show we have power."
Watch the video of these young athletes as they train, learn, and live with one another during their sports diplomacy exchange.