STORRS, Conn. – For the second year in a row, the University of Connecticut has been awarded $225,000 for an International Sports Programming Initiative exchange grant by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) SportsUnited Division. The grant will fund the Sports for Social Change two-way exchange program, aimed at promoting collaboration, knowledge sharing and mutual understanding between the U.S. and South Africa. The program increases the professional capacity of individuals who design and manage community or school youth sport programs that function as tools for fostering positive social change.
The University of Connecticut’s Global Training and Development Institute (GTDI), located in the UConn Office of Global Affairs, developed and piloted the Sports for Social Change program in Hong Kong in 2012. The success of the pilot program led to the development of a similar program for South Africa.
Roy Pietro, Principal Investigator for the program and Director of the GTDI, explains that what makes this program unique is its focus on the “role of youth sports as a significant factor in promoting educational success, psychosocial development, tolerance, cross-cultural understanding and conflict resolution.” The program serves as both an educational and cultural exchange, which will enable American and South African youth sport administrators to share their experiences, challenges and successes in managing and organizing youth sport programs.