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Making a Difference: Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports

The Mission

To empower girls and women from developing nations using a sport, leadership, and action planning curriculum, developed, implemented, and evaluated by the University of Tennessee Center for Sports, Peace, and Society (CSPS). Participants spend two to four weeks in the United States learning to develop an action plan that allows them to become change agents in their local communities while addressing critical social issues facing girls and women. Through this partnership, girls and women from all over the world are becoming social entrepreneurs, learning to develop projects that raise awareness and call for change. UT Students and faculty are heavily involved in the coordination and hosting of the international visitors, increasing student exposure to global issues and stimulating new avenues for research. The program started in June 2012 and involves full-time participation from two faculty members, in addition to 25 other faculty members working alongside them, 16 CSPS affiliated interdisciplinary scholars and over 250 UT students and 200 local high school students.

The Partners

400x500-Drs.-Hillyer-and-Huffman-with-Yasmin-Helal,-a-member-of-the-2014-class-of-the-Global-Sports-Mentoring-program-from-EgyptCommunity partners include the U.S. Department of State, 42 U.S. Embassies, ESPN and ESPN-W, Sport 4 Peace, National Collegiate Athletics Association, Burton Snowboards, Girls, Inc., Global Sports Partners, Heart of Los Angeles, Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), New Balance, Professional Golfer’s Association of America, Proctor and Gamble, The Coca-Cola Company, Under Armor, U.S. Golf Association (USGA), U.S. Olympic Committee, U.S. Paralympic Teams, Women in Cable Television, Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), Jefferson County High School (Tenn.), Emerald Youth Foundation, Knox County Health Department, and Knox County Force Pro Soccer. University of Tennessee, Knoxville partners include the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences, UT Athletics, Lady Vols Basketball, Lady Vols Softball, Lady Vols Soccer, Lady Vols Volleyball, UT Sports Medicine, UT Strength and Conditioning, UT Sports Nutrition, UT Baker Center for Public Policy, and the Depatment of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies.

Impact on UT

The Global Sports Mentoring Program, the cornerstone program of this partnership, was ranked by the Public Diplomacy Council as the 9th best diplomatic accomplishment in the world for 2013. Over 250 UT students and more than 25 faculty members from 12 different disciplines have engaged in these programs. Center directors were published on six occasions and presented 26 times on this work (2012-13). CSPS has been invited to establish the first international professional association in the field of Sport for Development and Peace. CSPS will soon be home for a professional Journal of Sport for Development, causing it to become an international hub for this emerging academic field. A professionally maintained website for CSPS highlights support to alumnae progress.

Impact on Community

As part of this program, girls and women from around the world create culturally relevant and sustainable action plans that use sport to combat a variety of societal challenges. Reciprocity and the multiplier effect are at the heart of this initiative. Thus far, 137 girls and women from 42 countries have created action plans. More than 150 U.S. organizations nationwide have organized activities designed to share knowledge and inform participant action plans, and program alumnae are currently implementing their action plans in 42 countries. $12,000 has been awarded in seed money to help alumnae carry out their action plans.

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TnToday: UT State Dept. Empower Women, Girls Sports
UT Center for Sport, Peace and Society on Facebook
Global Sports Mentoring Program on Facebook
US Department of State: Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports Initiative


UT Center for Sport, Peace and Society

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