Photo of the Week: Empowering Young People Through Sports

January 27, 2012
Children Play Soccer in India

This week's "Photo of the Week" was taken by U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs' employee Beth Payne for the "Serving Abroad…Through Their Eyes" exhibition. The photograph shows a group of children playing soccer in the shadow of the Victoria Memorial in Kolkata, India. The U.S. Department of State has a strong commitment to engaging young people worldwide and to using people-to-people diplomacy as a means to create opportunities for greater understanding, including using sports as a means of empowerment.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton recently named NBA Hall-of-Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the State Department's Cultural Ambassador. This week, Abdul-Jabbar kicked off his service in Salvador, Brazil, where he met and played basketball with youths at a community center. While talking to the young people about his experiences in sports, Abdul-Jabber also emphasized the importance of education. Abdul-Jabbar said, "It was very rewarding for me today to talk to the young people about their education because a lot of them didn't understand how important it is. So I was happy to remind them that their education will supplement everything that they try to do as athletes and they seemed to be open to it. They asked really interesting questions and had an open mind it seemed to what I was saying."

Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Ann Stock will participate in a Twitter Q&A at 09:30 a.m. EST on Tuesday, January 31. Assistant Secretary Stock will discuss the role of technology and social media in English language programs, exchanges, and cultural diplomacy initiatives. Submit your questions to @ConnectStateGov and @AnnatState using the hashtag #AskAnn.

Editor's Note: The "Serving Abroad…Through Their Eyes" photography contest and exhibition is a joint effort between the Department of State's Office of Art in Embassies and the Department of Defense. Any current or former military, civil, and Foreign Service officer may submit up to 10 compelling photographs from their service abroad. Submissions will be accepted now through February 20, 2012. Rules, guidelines, and entry forms can be found here.



Maria S.
United States
January 27, 2012

Maria S. in the U.S.A. writes:

Hi, Thank you for bringing more information to this topic for me. I’m truly grateful and really impressed.

Maria S.

January 29, 2012

Arjen in the Netherlands writes:

Education and sport is a excelent mix. Used it toghether.

January 30, 2012

Travis in Guyana writes:

Any event which targets youngsters from sports to arts, to poetry, music, dancing etc, is always a welcomed initiative by me. The glorification of violence and “badman” needs to be eradicated and replaced by the glorification of achieving a Diploma, scholarship, a sport or academic award, helping the elderly, the fight against drugs, poverty, pollution etc.

Tom G.
District Of Columbia, USA
January 30, 2012

Tom G. in Washington, D.C. writes:

Successful diplomacy is built on engaging people on their terms in a language they understand. For young people that language isn't English or Hindi, it is sports. This is the kind of innovative diplomacy which has the potential to create drastic improvement in lives of millions of youth around the world.

January 30, 2012

Gergokocsis in Hungary writes:

Sports is a very good way of communicating young people. It is a channel of communication that is easily understood and one that promotes peace and fair behaviour among those playing. Sports can also open doors in terms of education for those who wouldn't have possibilities otherwise. I believe that supporting sports and the sports activities of the youth is extremely important.

Alex D.
February 16, 2012

Alex D. in Australia writes:

Sport is a great way to break through cultural divides, because sport is a language everyone understands. I recently found out you can ski in India but that the slopes are riddled with military personnel due to the ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan. Hopefully both sides can lay down their weapons, put on some skis, and settle their disputes on the slopes.


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