What I witnessed on Sunday was truly inspirational. I had the honor of attending the Global Sports Mentoring Program, Class of 2016’s presentations. The goal of the Global Sports Mentoring Program (GSMP) “which is run by the U.S. Department of State and espnW and is administered by the University of Tennessee Center for Sport, Peace, and Society, is to empower women worldwide through sports. Each of the so-called emerging leaders, who have built some experience in the sports industry, is paired with an executive at a top U.S. organization. While they’re in the U.S., the participants and their mentors will shape action plans to take back to their home countries.” Every emerging leader goes through an intense four-week mentorship program.
Prior to the start of the program, each year, each emerging leader had identified a key need or challenge facing girls and women in their home country. The class of 2016 presented their action plan over the course of two days. I attended day one. From the first eight presentations, I can say with confidence, the most amazing thing to see was how unique each and every plan was. Not one plan had the same vision as another, each emerging leader talked about different initiatives to achieve their goals and each plan will make an ever lasting impact.
I began to talk to various individuals of the program including mentees, mentors, program developers and other GSMP advocates and the amount of energy and vibe I felt was incredible. Each and every person in the room wants to be able to change the world, one action at a time. Some of the emerging leaders have established organizations and others are starting fresh but, each leader walks away with more information and resources than ever before to grow or jump start their program. Not to mention the countless number of life long memories they make along the way.
Some of the emerging leaders from day one of the presentations…
“I can be a voice for women who don’t have one.” – Paola Kuri (Mexico)
“Sport gave me endless opportunities.” – Silvija Mitevska (Macedonia)
“Women’s voices are not heard in Pakistan.” – Rabia Qadir (Pakistan)
We all know that women and girls who participate in sports gain life skills that will allow them to transcend in leadership roles. Everyone deserves a chance and everyone has the right to participate in sport but not everyone has the opportunity. With their network broadened and having more resources available to them, through the GSMP these women will succeed and more will have that opportunity.
Learn more about the program here: https://globalsportsmentoring.org/.
You can also join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #EmpowerWomen.
Neha S. Contractor (SAinSports Team Member), you can follow her at @nehascontractor.