U.S. Volleyball Players Launch Youth Sports Diplomacy Program in Vietnam

U.S. and Vietnam players in a group photo

HANOI, July 12, 2018 – Twenty-five female high school volleyball players and coaches from the United States kicked off a U.S. Department of State sports exchange program in Vietnam on July 10 as part of a program to build friendships through sports and to create mutual understanding among the young people of the two nations.

U.S. and Vietnam players at a friendly match in Duc Giang, Hanoi
U.S. and Vietnam players at a friendly match in Duc Giang, Hanoi

Volleyball teams from Duc Giang, Bac Ninh, and Quang Ninh will host exhibition games with San Diego’s Exodus Volleyball Club The San Diego team will also visit KOTO to learn about local opportunities empowering at-risk-youth; spend a night on Halong Bay to learn about environmental preservation efforts; and tour cultural sites including the Temple of Literature and the Museum of Ethnology.

Following their visit to Vietnam, the San Diego team will then travel to Luang Prabang, Laos, where they will host a volleyball clinic and tournament with local teams.

Teams from Vietnam and Laos will then spend a week in San Diego in December 2018 for a reciprocal exchange experience which will be funded by the U.S. Department of State. While in San Diego, players from Vietnam and Laos will play friendly matches against local teams, enjoy dinner in the homes of local San Diegans, and explore local cultural sites while deepening their connections with their San Diego peers.

This program, organized by the San Diego Diplomacy Council in partnership with the National Ability Center, is funded through an International Sports Programming Initiative cooperative agreement through the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs’ Sports Diplomacy division.

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The Exodus Volleyball Club, a San Diego-based organization founded on offering quality coaching to underprivileged and at-risk youth. The club’s participation in this exchange program is an opportunity for young female athletes from diverse social and cultural backgrounds in San Diego to transcend their differences, learn about the world, and become U.S. youth ambassadors for peace, prosperity, and stability

The San Diego Diplomacy Council (SDDC) is a non-profit organization based in San Diego, the third largest metropolitan region in California. The SDDC connects San Diego to the rest of the world through professional, educational and cultural exchange programs. One of 90 nationwide organizations designated by the U.S State Department to provide these services, the San Diego Diplomacy Council builds relationships between community and business leaders in the San Diego region with their counterparts around the world; addressing challenges like social justice, education, citizen safety, economic opportunity and environmental sustainability.

The National Ability Center
The National Ability Center empowers individuals of all abilities by building self-esteem, confidence and lifetime skills through sport, recreation and educational programs. Located in Park City, Utah, it is one of the largest facilities in the country to provide recreational and sports opportunities to individuals of all abilities. Each year, the National Ability Center provides thousands of lessons in programs including skiing, horseback riding, cycling and archery. For more information, visit www.DiscoverNAC.org.

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ Sports Diplomacy Division
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State fosters mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries to promote friendly and peaceful relations. This mission is accomplished through academic, cultural, sports, and professional exchanges that engage youth, students, educators, artists, athletes, and rising leaders in the United States and more than 160 countries.

The Sports Diplomacy division (formerly SportsUnited) uses the international language of sports as a tool to promote tolerance, understanding and the peaceful resolution/prevention of conflict; to increase awareness among young people of the importance of following a healthy lifestyle and physical fitness in order to prevent illness, substance abuse, and negative behaviors; and to improve the quality of life for persons with disabilities by providing inclusive sports opportunities that contribute to the physical and psychological health of people at all ages who experience disabilities.