Health and Fitness, Local

WorldChicago to Host Foreign Leaders Examining Disability Rights and Inclusion in Chicago and Champaign

Wheelchair basketball
Chicago wheelchair basketball participants (Source:
Chicago and Champaign, IL –(ENEWSPF)—June 15, 2018
Contact: Monika Wilcox

As part of the U.S. Department of State’s Sports Diplomacy programs, sixteen participants from Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, and Thailand will spend June 21 to July 5, 2018, in Chicago and Champaign, Illinois examining disability rights and inclusion. WorldChicago will host the group. Managed by FHI 360, Sports Visitors are non-elite youth athletes, coaches, and administrators who travel to the United States for a fast-paced short-term sports cultural exchange with American peers and sports practitioners. During the program, they participate in clinics and sessions on leadership, team-building and conflict resolution, as well as on America’s experience with inclusion and equity in sport.

The Sports Visitor Program creates a network of leaders around the world who have firsthand experience and understanding of U.S. culture, society, and values, through exploring America’s athletic landscape -from community based programs to professional sports. Sports Visitors take part in capacity building, leadership, and sports-based programs that help shape their future educational and employment goals and aspirations. Funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Sports Visitor Program connects participants to their peers in the United States and creates important opportunities for Americans to engage with individuals from other countries, thereby deepening trust and understanding between the United States and other countries and cultures.

The Sports Visitor participants from Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, and Thailand are joined by FHI 360 staff for the entirety of their visit and together with U.S. Department of State personnel, ensure the program is adapted to U.S. foreign policy goals and participant interests.

While in Illinois, the participants will meet with local experts on disability rights, research, and advocacy to increase public, private, and people-to-people linkages between their home countries and the U.S. to further mutual understanding. The participants will also explore various adaptive sports, particularly wheelchair basketball, to gain insight on how sports can empower emerging leaders, support continuing efforts to promote inclusiveness, and increase the knowledge and skills of youth athletes in developing healthy habits and a positive lifestyle.

Through home stays and/or home hospitality, Sports Visitor participants will experience American family life.  Additionally, they will take part in several cultural and community activities, including Chicago SummerDance, a visit to the Willis Tower SkyDeck, and participating in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Individual Skills Camp and Coaches Clinic for wheelchair basketball.

The Sports Visitor Program has brought more than 2,000 current and future leaders from all over the world to the United States. Participants have come from every world region and more than 100 different countries and growing.

For more information, please contact Monika Wilcox at [email protected] or visit our website at  Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @Exchanges360.