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UConn awarded grant to start sports programming exchange with China

By Olivia Balsinger
On December 3, 2012

The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) SportsUnited Division have awarded an International Sports Programming Initiative exchange grant to the University of Connecticut.
As stated within the press release describing the program, "The purpose of the 'Sports for Social Change' two-way exchange program is to promote mutual understanding between the U.S. and China by increasing the professional capacity of individuals who design and manage community and school based youth sports programs to use sport to foster positive social change."
The program will allow Chinese and American youth sports administrators to share their experiences administrating within their respected countries.
According to the press release, "UConn is also partnering with Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), a prestigious higher education institution located in Hong Kong. HKBU, in coordination with the U.S. Consulates in Hong Kong and Guangzhou, will select ten youth sport administrators and secondary school sports program administrators in an open, merit-based competitive process."
The University of Connecticut's Global Training and Development Institute, known as GTDI, developed the program. The institute partnered with the Husky Sports program in order to created what came to be called the International Sports Program.
The press release says that the exchange program emphasizes being reciprocal, so after the ten students from China return home, ten American youth sport administrators will travel to China and participate in a two-week exchange program, further emphasizing the cultural exchanges.
"I think it is awesome that UConn takes such initiatives to let students experience another culture in this manner," said 3rd-semester exploratory student Carly Anderson. "Though I am not a sports administrator, I would love the opportunity to do an exchange like that and see the workshops and different cultural meetings."
Fifth-semester economics major Erin O'Brien agreed that sports programs have a positive effect on youth.
"I think organized sports programs definitely have a positive impact on youth and I know from personal experience that they often teach valuable interpersonal skills and lessons about dedication, teamwork, perseverance and respect," said O'Brien. "This sounds like an interesting collaboration and I think both countries will benefit from observing each other's current programs and sharing experiences and ideas. Recently, I've heard a lot about budget cuts decreasing or completely cutting funding for these programs so it's nice to see that people still recognize the importance of youth sports programs."
For more information about this exchange opportunity, visit the UConn Office of Global Affairs.

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