STATEMENT BY HEATHER NAUERT, SPOKESPERSON: U.S. Department of State and espnW Join Forces for the Seventh Annual Global Sports Mentoring Program

From September 24 to October 31, international sports leaders and American mentors in the sports sector across the country will take part in the annual U.S. Department of State and espnW Global Sports Mentoring Program (GSMP). In its seventh year, this professional development exchange supports the State Department’s ongoing efforts to empower women and girls around the world through sports.

Working side-by-side with emerging female leaders, senior female U.S. sports executives open their respective organizations as host sites to share business, entrepreneurship, and strategic management insights. In return, the American mentors receive new cultural perspectives and an expanded global network. The mentors also guide international delegates in developing action plans to empower women and girls through sports in their home countries. Whether blazing trails for women to run in Peru or using kick-boxing in India, through their action plans, the sportswomen of GSMP have positively and directly impacted 225,000 people in every corner of the world.

This year’s GSMP participants, hailing from Bangladesh, Brazil, Burma, Israel, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Palestinian Territories, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, Timor Leste, Vietnam, and Zambia, will join the 99 outstanding alumnae – Olympians, Paralympians, journalists, ministerial officials, civil society leaders, sports administrators, and others – from over 50 countries.

This year’s mentors represent: the BIG EAST, Burton Snowboards, Creative Artists Agency, ESPN, FOX Sports, Gatorade, Google, National Collegiate Athletic Association, National Hockey League, Saatchi & Saatchi LA, University of Connecticut, the U.S. Tennis Association, and Spurs Sports and Entertainment. With the University of Tennessee’s Center for Sport, Peace, and Society as the cooperative partner since its inception, GSMP has proven to be a successful partnership between government, private sector, and academia.

Join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #EmpowerWomen. For more information, please contact the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at and ESPN’s Tara Chozet at