U.S. Womens sports envoys celebrate Pacific Games

The United States Embassy in Port Moresby will host two U.S. championship basketball players for a series of secondary school sports clinics and youth outreach events from June 28 through July 3.

The “Slam Dunk” basketball clinics will engage with area secondary school students through the U.S. State Department’s Sports Envoy Program in advance of the Pacific Games.

Together with the U.S. State Department’s SportsUnited Office and the Papua New Guinea Basketball Federation, the U.S. Envoys, Dr. Andrea Woodson-Smith and Ms. Ruthie Bolton, will highlight programs that empower young women, including the disabled, and encourage Papua New Guinean youth to lead safe and healthy lifestyles through sports programs.

Sports Envoys like Dr. Woodson-Smith and Ms. Bolton are typically current or former professional athletes who travel outside the United States to participate in sports outreach activities, conduct sports clinics, and engage at-risk youth in dialogue on the importance of leadership, education, and respect for diversity.

Sports diplomacy can help empower Papua New Guinea’s young women and keep girls in school by encouraging their academic interests, physical abilities, and leadership skills.

The U.S. Sports Envoys will conduct the sports diplomacy basketball clinics at five local schools: St. Joseph’s International School, Kilakila Secondary School, Don Bosco Technical Secondary School, Marianville Secondary School, and Port Moresby National High School.

Dr. Andrea Woodson-Smith and Ruthie Bolton, former professional basketball players and Olympic champions, will meet with Papua New Guinean sports officials, interact with local athletic coaches and trainers, but most importantly, they will reach out to Port Moresby secondary school boys and girls through their “Slam Dunk” basketball clinics.

Dr. Andrea Woodson-Smith currently plays wheelchair basketball with the Dallas Lady Mavericks and Charlottesville, Virginia Cardinals.

She was a member of the 2010 wheelchair basketball team that won the world championship in Birmingham, England.

SportsUnited Envoy Programs are aimed at teaching the fundamentals of basketball, emphasizing teamwork, communication, leadership, promoting women’s empowerment, and further support access to education through sports programs.

Local sponsors, the Basketball Federation of Papua New Guinea and City Pharmacy Limited partnered with the U.S. Embassy in support of this sports diplomacy program.