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Sarah Hillyer, director of the Center for Sport, Peace, and Society, speaks to Senator Bob Corker at the ceremony for the Walter Roberts Endowment at George Washington University.

Sarah Hillyer, director of the UT Center for Sport, Peace, and Society, last week participated in a ceremony at George Washington University celebrating Tennessee Senator Bob Corker’s contributions to the field of public diplomacy.

Corker received the Walter Roberts Endowment from George Washington University’s Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication for his outstanding diplomatic work as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Corker and Hillyer spoke alongside Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Marie Royce about the importance of American diplomacy in the world.

After receiving the award, Corker presented the endowment to Hillyer, asking her to use it to support the work of his alma mater and the center’s global impact through sports projects that include efforts to develop women’s basketball in Iraq.

“We are honored to be recognized by Senator Corker for our contributions to public diplomacy and, more specifically, to empowering women around the world through sports,” Hillyer said. “We couldn’t be more proud of the senator’s work, and appreciate so much that he has entrusted us with this award.”

The center will use the endowment in honor of the legacy of Pat Summitt’s commitment to basketball and education and Corker’s legacy of public service and diplomacy.

At the ceremony, Hillyer spoke about the ways sports diplomacy can make an impact for marginalized populations globally.

Since 2012, the center has served as an implementing partner of the US Department of State’s Global Sports Mentoring Program, an initiative that focuses on empowering women and people with disabilities around the world through sports-based exchanges. The CSPS has collaborated with the US Department of State’s Sports Diplomacy Division on this and other sports-related empowerment projects over the past six years, training more than 150 international sports leaders to impact 190,000 youth, women, and members of marginalized communities.

CSPS will work closely with Holly Warlick, head coach of UT’s Lady Vols basketball, to continue supporting the women’s basketball movement in Iraq.

To learn more about the work of the CSPS, visit its website and social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Lindsey Owen (865-974-0937,

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,