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Sangeetha Manoharan of India (left) and Caroline Lembe of Belgium embrace during a teambuilding exercise. Both women were participants in the 2017 GSMP: Empower Women through Sports exchange.

On one of the premier stages celebrating the powerful impact of sport around the world, a partnership of UT’s Center for Sport, Peace, and Society has been named a Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award honoree at ESPN’s Sports Humanitarian Awards.

The awards ceremony will take place July 17 in Los Angeles.

“We are truly honored to receive one of the Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Awards, and appreciate so much our partnership with the US Department of State and espnW that made it possible,” said Sarah Hillyer, director of the CSPS. “Together and alongside brave and courageous women from all over the world, we are fulfilling our dream of leveraging the unique power of sport-based innovation to create a more equitable world for women and girls.

Established in honor of former ESPN commentator Stuart Scott, the ENSPIRE award honors the work of the Global Sports Mentoring Program (GSMP), a US Department of State and espnW initiative implemented by CSPS since its inception in 2012. The initiative has trained 99 international sports leaders from 53 countries during its gender-equality exchange programs. In addition to training participants in CSPS’s Better World curriculum, the center has partnered these leaders with female executive mentors at top organizations such as ESPN, Google, NHL, Big East Conference, and Saatchi. The center has collaborated with more than 110 mentors to support participants as they’ve developed plans for sport-based social change in their own communities, directly impacting more than 225,000 youth and women in the past six years.

Aline Silva, an Olympic wrestler from Brazil, works with partner Malak Hasan, secretary general of the Palestinian Boxing Federation, during group fitness at Ambitious Athletics in Washington DC. Both women were participants in the 2017 GSMP: Empower Women through Sports exchange.
Aline Silva, an Olympic wrestler from Brazil, works with partner Malak Hasan, secretary general of the Palestinian Boxing Federation, during group fitness at Ambitious Athletics in Washington DC. Both women were participants in the 2017 GSMP: Empower Women through Sports exchange.

“When we conceived of what the GSMP could become, we believed wholeheartedly it had the potential to be more than a simple, government-funded program,” said Hillyer. “We envisioned a global movement of changemakers, mentors, and emerging leaders, who believe in the power and potential of sport as a tool for social change at every level of society. Today we can celebrate together because this change is happening.”

The finalists and winners for the award were determined by a selection committee, which included Nick Keller, founder and president of Beyond Sport; Donald Lassere, CEO of the Muhammad Ali Center; Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, CEO of Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA; Sab Singh, founder of Sports Doing Good; and Eli Wolff, director of the Power of Sport Lab and Sport and Society Initiative at Brown University.

“The collective impact that this year’s Sports Humanitarian Award nominees have made in their communities is nothing short of extraordinary,” said Kevin Martinez, vice president of ESPN Corporate Citizenship. “From empowering youth through sports, to fighting for social change, to resourcing those in need, these honorees showcase the incredible power of sports.”

Participants in the 2017 GSMP: Empower Women through Sports exchange form a group hug during a teambuilding exercise at Terrapin Adventures in Savage, Md.
Participants in the 2017 GSMP: Empower Women through Sports exchange form a group hug during a teambuilding exercise at Terrapin Adventures in Savage, Md.

Three GSMP alumnae will return to the United States to participate in the ceremony: Geraldine Bernardo, founder of the Sport Management Council of the Philippines (2012, Philippines); Dima Alardah, youth project coordinator for the Norwegian Refugee Council in Iraq (2014, Jordan); and Cynthia Coredo, program manager for Boxgirls Kenya (2015, Kenya).

“The CSPS provided the impetus and wherewithal that enabled me to launch my own sport-for-development programs in my country,” said Bernardo, who after participating in the GSMP returned home to launch two initiatives aimed at supporting vulnerable communities in the Philippines: Sports for Women’s Empowerment and Employment Program (SWEEP) as well as RePLAY, ReLIVE and ReCREATE—Building Community Resilience through Sports for Post-Disaster and Post-Conflict Areas.

“Even years later, the center continues to connect and involve the alumnae, ensuring that the ‘sisters’ will always have a web of support and opportunities for cross engagement.”

Highlights of the Sports Humanitarian Awards will be showcased during a one-hour program on ESPN, July 24, at 7 p.m. (ET). To learn more about the work of the CSPS, visit its website and social media channels: FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

CONTACT:

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

Brian Canever (551-221-1382, bcanever@utk.edu)