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Center for Sport, Peace, and Society Director Sarah Hillyer (center, left) with GSMP alumna Ogla Dolinina and the US Olympic women’s ice hockey team.

From traveling on a celebratory tour with the US Olympic women’s ice hockey team to welcoming a group of international sports leaders to campus for the next few weeks, UT’s Center for Sport, Peace, and Society continues to promote sports as an empowering force on the lives of women worldwide.

“It has been an amazing whirlwind of activity in the last three months,” Assistant Director Ashleigh Huffman said. “It can be easy to feel discouraged in the world in which we live, but at the center we see progress. We see lives changing. We see people making a difference. We see human beings reaching across ethnic, religious, cultural, and political divides to create a more peaceful and inclusive world. And we see sport as the unifying force of it all.”

The center welcomed a delegation of 17 international sports leaders on Friday for the 2018 Global Sports Mentoring Program: Sport for Community, a five-week exchange program that focuses on empowering people with disabilities through community-based sports initiatives.

The Center for Sport, Peace, and Society has been the implementing partner for the Global Sports Mentoring Program since 2012, soon after Director Sarah Hillyer and Huffman established the center in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences.

Center for Sport, Peace, and Society Assistant Director Ashleigh Huffman (center, left) and Director Sarah Hillyer (center, right) at South by Southwest with Global Sports Mentoring Program alumna Carla Bustamante, San Antonio Spurs mentor Laura Dixon, and US State Department Division Chief Matt McMahon.
Center for Sport, Peace, and Society Assistant Director Ashleigh Huffman (center, left) and Director Sarah Hillyer (center, right) at South by Southwest with Global Sports Mentoring Program alumna Carla Bustamante, San Antonio Spurs mentor Laura Dixon, and US State Department Division Chief Matt McMahon.

Hillyer and Huffman’s team has supported 130 alumni from 67 countries in its Empower Women through Sports and Sport for Community exchanges. Since 2012, the center has seen program participants go on to carry out its work in some notable ways: engagement of more than 190,000 youth in sport and life-skills clinics; involvement from more than 5,300 volunteers; formation of 448 new partnerships with NGOs, businesses, and government; and implementation of action plans at an 88 percent success rate.

In early March, Hillyer accompanied the US Olympic women’s ice hockey team, fresh off a gold-medal victory at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, in a victory tour highlighting women in sports. She traveled with them to the team’s official welcome at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland; the She Believes Cup soccer tournament in Harrison, New Jersey; and the National Hockey League headquarters in New York City The tour was organized in cooperation with the US Department of State and longtime Global Sports Mentoring Program mentor Susan Cohig of the NHL.

After returning from her tour with the hockey team, Hillyer traveled with Huffman to Austin, Texas, for the South by Southwest Conference and Festivals, an iconic global event bringing together the worlds of interactive, film, music, and comedy. Hillyer and Huffman participated in a panel, “The Power of the Global Sports Mentoring Program,” moderated by ESPN’s Cari Champion. The other panelists were Matt McMahon, division chief for the US Department of State’s Sports Diplomacy Division; Laura Dixon, head of external relations for Spurs Sports and Entertainment; and Carla Bustamante, a 2015 alumna of the program who promotes women’s sports campaigns and softball clinics through her work as public relations director of Naranjeros Baseball Club.

Follow along with the Center for Sport, Peace, and Society on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

Contact:

Jules Morris (865-719-7072, julesmo@utk.edu)