July 25, 2011 – Grassroot Soccer (GRS) and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announced today that six HIV prevention educators from Malawi will travel to the United States July 27 – August 7 for a 10-day international exchange to collaborate with their American counterparts on ways to use sports to educate, mobilize, and inspire youth against the spread of HIV.  Later this summer, two Americans will travel to Malawi to complete the two-way exchange, where they will work for a year with their Malawian counterparts in the town of Lilongwe.  This exchange is in partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Malawi, Baylor College of Medicine – Children’s Foundation Malawi (BCM-CFM), and the Red Ribbon Foundation.

Malawi mapGrassroot Soccer currently conducts HIV prevention programs for youth in 10 different African countries.  The six coaches are all young community leaders currently teaching HIV prevention and life skills to youth in Lilongwe, Malawi.  The U.S. portion of this exchange will be split between Washington, D.C. and Norwich, VT, home of GRS’ global headquarters.  In Washington, the coaches will meet with representatives from the Malawian Embassy, visit HIV prevention programs.  While in Vermont, they will spend time with local homestay families, participate in leadership training, and visit with HIV and infectious disease experts.

Sports diplomacy builds on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s vision of “smart power diplomacy.”  It embraces the use of a full range of diplomatic tools, including sports, to bring individuals together to foster greater understanding.

About the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ SportsUnited Office – The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ SportsUnited Office leads the U.S. Department of State’s international exchange efforts to bring the global community together through sports.  Under its International Sports Programming Initiative, public and private U.S. based non-profit organizations, 501(c)(3), may submit proposals to address one of four themes: Youth Sports Management, Training Sports Coaches, Sport and Disability, and Sport and Health.  Since 2002, the office has awarded more than 80 grants to U.S. non-profits to conduct programs in 43 countries around the world.