Strong Women, Better World


The U.S. Department of State and espnW Global Sports Mentoring Program (GSMP) welcome your application to the 2021 virtual exchange program that aims to empower women and ensure a more stable society worldwide. An in-person program will follow in 2022.

The program will leverage digital platforms to engage delegates in group and one-on-one sessions. Its goals are to promote public-private partnerships, create linkages between American executives and sports leaders overseas, mobilize the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) alumni community, and prioritize themes of entrepreneurship, public health, and inclusion.

Whether pushing social stability in Jordan through cyclingsupporting girls through self-defense and boxing courses in Kenya, or inspiring the next generation of female wrestlers in Brazil, the delegates of the GSMP are transforming their communities through sport. This year’s virtual class will join the ranks of 130 alumnae from over 60 countries—Olympians, Paralympians, journalists, ministerial officials, civil society leaders, and sports administrators—who are providing opportunities for thousands of underserved individuals to become leaders on the field and in the boardroom.

On the mentorship side, ECA works with espnW to secure a slate of American executives in the corporate, academic, non-profit, and sports sectors who are committed to gender equality at home and around the world. The University of Tennessee’s Center for Sport, Peace, and Society (UT) has been the implementing partner since the inception of the exchange. Up to 20 international female candidates will be matched with female executives from American sports organizations for this online, month-long mentorship that precedes the in-person espnW GSMP program in the U.S. IN 2022. With a win-win model, the GSMP allows for all players to develop a strong network—regardless of whether connecting in-person or remotely.

As the flagship of the Department’s professional sports development initiatives, the GSMP provides emerging leaders with opportunities to:

  • Gain exposure to the U.S. sports business, media, start-up, and non-profit environments from the grassroots to boardroom levels;
  • Establish lasting relationships with a global sports network;
  • Develop social innovation, advocacy, and leadership skills so that they can further contribute to economic growth and healthy communities;
  • Develop strategies aimed at long-term positive change in their home countries. Note: Instead of a full action plan this year, the 2021 virtual exchange will allow for delegates to address key timely issues (e.g. COVID relief in the sports sector, health and wellness, social justice). They will be responsible for preparing a multi-media (e.g. audio, written, Powerpoint, video) presentation on the three key takeaways from the mentorship and three ways that they will work differently in the future.

For emerging leaders who wish to apply to this project, please submit the following documents by June 11, 2021 to with the subject line “Sports Mentoring Program”.

  • Current resume (CV);
  • Basic biographical information;
  • Details about the sports work in which you are engaged, the sector of your organization (e.g. private, public, NGO), and your role within the organization;
  • Description of your personal interests and goals;
  • Letters of recommendation (optional).

Candidates criteria are as follows:

  • Approximately ages 25 to 40.
  • Driven to strive for gender equality through sports in your home country and beyond;
  • Involved in sports sectors including; sports management; coaching; sports journalism; sports marketing; sports innovation; disability sports; and/or sports medicine;
  • Able to converse fluently in English;
  • Able to reach top levels of your organization;
  • Thai citizen;
  • Confident, self-motivated, and driven towards success;
  • Poised to share knowledge and acting as a change agent at home;
  • Able to commit to the synchronous virtual activities (approximately two hours daily from October 11 to November 12) and able to devote time to pre-program online exercises;
  • Willing to participate in social media for the program and alumni activities after the exchange.

Approximately 20 participants will be selected for the program and U.S. Embassy will nominate up to two candidates.

PROGRAM OUTLINE – Notional dates for 2021 (approximately two hours daily):

Due to Covid complexities and mentor organization limitations, the 2021 espnW GSMP has been designed as an interactive virtual exchange program that will take place from October 11 to November 12, 2021.

  • Early October – Pre-mentorship homework and preparation session with UT
  • Monday, Oct. 11 – Welcome by the U.S. Department of State, espnW, and UT on UN International Day of the Girl Child
  • Tuesday, Oct. 12 – Session #1 and teambuilding online workout
  • Wednesday, Oct. 13 – Session #2
  • Thursday, Oct. 14 – Session #3
  • Friday, October 15 – Session #4
  • Saturday, October 16– Independent work
  • Sunday, Oct. 17 – “Reflections on the GSMP” with two alumnae and “Making the Most of the Mentorship” sessions
  • Monday, Oct. 18 to Wednesday, Oct. 20 – Virtual espnW Women + Sport Summit
  • Thursday, Oct. 21 to Sunday, Oct. 24 – Independent work and individual check-in
  • Monday, Oct. 25 to Friday, Nov. 5 – Mentorship (daily one-on-one sessions with matched mentor and mentor organization representatives)
  • Saturday, Nov. 6 to Sunday, Nov. 7 – Independent time (three key learnings and three next steps)
  • Monday, Nov. 8 – Group debrief and “Where Do We Go From Here?” session
  • Tuesday, Nov. 9 – Group “Refining Next Steps” session
  • Wednesday, Nov. 10 – Independent work (video/audio of three key learnings and three next steps output)
  • Thursday, Nov. 11 – Individual presentations to American mentors and end-of-program debrief
  • Friday, Nov. 12 – Finale with the U.S. Department of State, espnW, and UT

Pre-program homework will draw on espnW GSMP “MasterClasses” about women and sports leadership, Office Hours recordings on resilience in the face of Covid, and alumnae-driven Learning Labs on grantmaking and non-violent communication. UT will walk delegates through this homework.

For the first week, participants will exchange their perspectives with fellow delegates as well as learn about U.S. culture, the sports structure, and our nation’s history of disability sports and women’s sports.  Select alumnae representing prior GSMP generations will share insights on overcoming challenges and developing strategies for social change through sports.

Participants will take part in the virtual 2021 espnW Women + Sport Summit, an event that brings together leading voices and industry influencers to inspire change for women through sports.  Following the summit, you will work daily with your respective mentors and office teams.  For the final component, participants will identify three key learnings and refine next steps for how you can promote gender equality and health through sports.

After the program, alumnae will be eligible to apply for small grants from the GSMP cooperative agreement and be welcomed to private GSMP alumni Facebook clubs.

Throughout the exchange, Title IX — the landmark U.S. law that affords equality for American women in sports and education — will be a central theme.  With the lessons of Title IX as the backbone, the goals of the GSMP are based on evidence that women and girls who play sports are not only likely to excel on the playing field, but in the classroom and workplace.  In the wake of Covid’s devastating impact, the 2021 espnW GSMP will also show how leadership and health programming can contribute to community recovery and resilience.

Please submit your application to with the subject line “Sports Mentoring Program” by Friday, June 11, 2021.  We will inform you of acceptances and alternates in August 2021.

To experience the energy of the GSMP, visit Global Sports Mentoring Program and Global Sports Mentoring Program videos.

We look forward to receiving your application for this program.  For questions, please email Khun Usawadee at  Thank you for your interest in this sports initiative!